Coffee Spoons Launches

It’s a chilly Tuesday afternoon as the staff members of SFUAD’s newest student-run online literary magazine Coffee Spoons converge on an upstairs room in Benildus Hall, shedding coats and cracking open laptops to discuss the game plan for the upcoming week. Only one submission has been made to the website so far and the staff kicks into high gear, brainstorming ways to further promote the website.

“We’re hoping to accomplish a wider exposure for all writers on campus,” says Melinda Freudenberger, one of the editors, speaking of the purpose of Coffee Spoons. “We wanted something more accessible than Glyph, because Glyph is once a year and this is every month, so students have the opportunity to turn in newer work. But just as high quality work!”

The staff of Coffee Spoons gathers in Benildus for a meeting. Photo by Amanda Tyler

The staff of Coffee Spoons gathers in Benildus for a meeting. Photo by Amanda Tyler

Amaya Hoke agrees. “We want to inspire the student body to start submitting. The idea of submitting is kind of scary, so if they can start by submitting to a student-run online magazine, it might be easier for them to submit elsewhere.”

The online magazine will accept any genre of writing, as long as it is “original and coherent” according to the Coffee Spoons FAQ page, and is open to all SFUAD students, not just the Creative Writing and Literature department.

“Our only chance to put work out is Glyph whereas other departments have lots of opportunities to put their work out there such as plays and film festivals, and workshops can only take you so far,” says Josiah Farris, the mastermind behind the project. “I really got committed to the idea of trying to find a way for us to find ways to get our work out there more frequently.”

Although creative writing students are encouraged to submit their work elsewhere, the primary means of student publication within the department are Glyph, a yearly lit-mag written, edited, and promoted by students, and Jackalope Magazine, the weekly online magazine where students can explore journalism. The Coffee Spoons staff hopes students will be encouraged to submit due to the fast turn-around rate, the fact that submitting work for consideration is free, and that any published works may be resubmitted to “any other magazine that will accept it.”

At present, the staff of Coffee Spoons includes Brandon Brown as coordinator, with Josiah Farris, Zoe Baillargeon, Marina Woollven, Serafima Fedorova, Freudenberger, and Hoke as editors.

The meeting flip-flops between business and dissolving into giggly side conversations, the staff clearly having a great time working together. Farris jokes around, telling a story of how a teacher literally burning a bad essay in front of his class inspired him to become a writer. The tale sparks laughs from around the room and Brown attempts to get the meeting back on track. Once attention is redirected, everyone is engaged in presenting ideas and opinions for how to further promote the website.

Brandon Brown takes notes during the Coffee Spoon meeting. Photo by Amanda Tyler

Brandon Brown takes notes during the Coffee Spoon meeting. Photo by Amanda Tyler

The name “Coffee Spoons”comes from a stanza of the T.S. Eliot poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the exact quote being “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” Hoke got the idea from reading the poem in Dana Levin’s 20th Century American Poetry class, replacing Farris’s original title of “A Sudden Jabberwocky.”

Each member of the staff has their own reasons for wanting to be involved in the process of editing and promoting student work.

“I am always really excited and really looking forward to reading what the department and students come up with,” says Marina Woollven.

Freudenberger agrees, saying that she “loves the process of editing, I’m really passionate about it, and giving a wider voice to the community.”

Interested students may submit work the first week of every month. If their work is accepted, students can expect a response within two weeks of publication. The overall issue will be released at the end of each month.

Currently, the deadline for the November 2014 issue ends on Friday, Nov. 14, allowing students plenty of time to submit.

The faculty of the Creative Writing and Literature Department has been very supportive of the project, especially Dana Levin, who has been a proponent of the idea from its initial conception over the summer.

“I think this initiative is awesome,” Levin says. “It fills a need in the department and on campus in general: the need for a regularly published lit-mag. Since Glyph only comes out once a year, student writers have been eager for a way to get their work out there more often.”

Farris and the staff have been pleased with the faculty response. “Brandon and I first brought it to Dana (Levin) during the summer and she was really excited about it,” says Farris. “Matt Donovan has been really supportive as well.

As of Nov. 5, three works have been submitted, at least one by a non-writing major, and the editors are eager to see more.

“We just want to support people,” Farris says. “Give them a chance to get more exposure.”