• Spectrum Staff

Kailyn Kausen: My Editorial Mission

Someone who comes across the history of Spectrum might wonder why a journal that used to publish greats such as William Carlos Williams, Samuel Beckett, and Raymond Carver is altering its mission statement now, as we produce our 61st Volume. As the editor-in-chief, I wrote the new mission statement, so let me tell you about who we used to be and what we are trying to become.

As the title Spectrum suggests, we publish a spectrum of things. This used to be just a spectrum of voices, yet we’ve always had in our mission statement that we will publish "anything printable in 2-D." When re-evaluating our journal, we thought to take this one step further, questioning what "anything in 2-D" really means.

I looked at that our old statement, thought about it and wrote it on my bathroom mirror in purple lipstick to make myself see it a different way. And I thought, why haven’t I seen poems written in lipstick on a mirror represented as poetry or art or a hybrid rather than just photography?

So we evolved from publishing a spectrum of voices to publishing a spectrum of everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Hit us with anything – the weird, the funny, the out there, the things that make you wonder if this idea is genius or stupid. We want to give a voice to not only traditional works, but also works that might not be considered publishable because they are on the fringe of what others deem acceptable as literature.

Volume 61, which launched on Friday, June 8th, is a great representation of where we are heading as a publication. This volume includes not only high-quality works of fiction and poetry, but a comic, abstract art, and even work that extends beyond the confines of the print journal. We will be publishing a serialized version of Lee Huttner's "The Wrecking Ground" here on the brand-new Spectrum Literary Blog.

Experiment with form, language, and content. Send us sheet music or a comic strip. Send us erasure poetry or a crossover of art and poetry. Send us a short story that includes images, or genre fiction. Send us an instruction manual or a to-do list. A scientific diagram, a receipt, the image of a tattoo. An annotated image. A short screen-play or script.

Show us how you think about literature differently and how it can be taken to a new level while maintaining a high level of quality and interest.

As a writer who likes playing with experimental concepts, I recognize the lack of available places for publication of strange and different pieces. Work like mine and other more experimental work is out there and deserves a place to be represented. We will be one of those places.

This is a journal run by undergraduate students. It may seem insane for me to try and pull this journal into a bit more of an eccentric and possibly playful direction when I can only work on the journal for a short amount of time. But, I am confident this will be a lasting message that editors after me will embrace and grow with their unique ideas and perspectives.

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