Since September, Shenandoah has enjoyed the help of ten interns – and we have been lucky enough to help. This internship has been incredibly interesting and rewarding for me personally, and I think the majority of my classmates would agree. While the details of our work might not be obvious to Shenandoah’s readers, I wanted to take a moment and break down exactly what we have done this year. For a more general overview of the internship, please see this link.
The Shenandoah internship is split into three distinct sections – the class itself, out of class office hours, and our personal projects.
We began the semester by presenting about two literary journals each. Each student was assigned one physical journal and one online journal. This gave us an opportunity to not only explore the wide variety of literary journals available, but to see both sides of Shenandoah’s transition from a physical journal to a web journal. We researched and reported on everything from the physical journal’s font and layout to their web presence and editorial views. I was assigned The Kenyon Review and storySouth. I found the differences between these journals incredibly compelling just because of how different they are. The former is a storied and well-endowed heavyweight in the literary world while the latter is hip, imaginative, and entirely online.
In addition to our presentation on literary journals, we spent class time discussing nearly every issue associated with publishing a journal. These ranged from ethical issues to the type of stories Shenandoah accepts to the language we are willing to publish. Class discussions also included our opinions about the Shenandoah website and ways we think it can be improved (Whether they’ll make the cut or not is yet to be seen).
Our out of class office hours are relatively easy to explain – we were expected to spend two hours a week in the Shenandoah office reading fiction manuscripts and commenting on them. While tedious at times, I found reading submissions was almost always relaxing and fascinating. It was very exciting to be reading what could be Shenandoah’s next great story. In an hour-long span I could usually read and comment on anywhere from three to five different stories. On a few occasions, the entire class read a story and debated its merits and faults.
In addition to our class discussions and our office hours, each intern was assigned an individual project. These projects included managing our Facebook page, promoting the Graybeal-Gowen Prize, working on the Poem of the Week, and networking within the literary community. While each intern was assigned to an individual task, we would often work with and contribute to each other’s project. For example, we were all asked to “like” Shenandoah on Facebook, follow it on Twitter and contribute one poem and analysis for the Poem of the Week. At the end of the semester, we wrapped up the class by presenting about what we accomplished since January.