Tropos appeals to the individual

Jess Vogt

A $25 prize awaits students who submit the best poetry, prose and art entries to Tropos magazine each year.
Tropos is Lawrence’s literary and arts magazine, published every spring by the student organization of the same name. Junior Abby Uselding is this year’s associate editor of the magazine. She has been involved with the magazine since her freshman year and describes each year working on the magazine as a journey.
The journey begins with publicity in the beginning of the year. Uselding and senior Allison Manasse, Tropos editor-in-chief, solicit interested individuals at the Activities Fair, looking for potential staff members, contributors, Review Board members or just readers of previous Tropos issues. Weekly meetings are then arranged and the fun begins.
“Just this year, we’ve begun holding Open Mike Nights in Hiett every other Wednesday at 9 p.m.,” said Uselding. During these nights, writers and artists are invited to come and share their work in front of an audience.
“We leave it as open as possible,” Manasse added. “We always start out with an editor reading something to get people to loosen up. Then it’s an open opportunity for performing art.”
The Open Mike Nights provide not only a venue for spoken-word artists, but also an opportunity for Tropos to solicit submissions.
“It’s the hardest part of the job,” said Manasse about getting people to send in entries. So many people write – whether as an extension of class or just for themselves – but she adds that few people put in the effort to submit their work.
Still, last year, Tropos received more than 75 written and 30 visual submissions, which the Review Board pared down into about 25 written and 15-20 visual pieces to print.
The Review Board is composed of the Tropos editors and anyone else interested in having input in the pieces that make it into the final magazine.
“It’s always interesting to see what people have come up with over the last year and to see where people take things outside of class,” said Manasse.
“It’s also interesting to see how what happens politically and socially represents itself in submissions. So much last year was about interpersonal relationships.”
Students recognized the increasing artist population on campus and began to focus on encouraging individual expression. This has been the goal of Tropos since its inception at the beginning of the 20th century.
“It was about individuals making their own art rather that just being trained for apprenticeship-style jobs,” Manasse said of the early Tropos.
Manasse would like to see Tropos continue toward more unique and individualized “personal writing, personal images.”
Looking to be part of something different or maybe win that $25? Submissions to this year’s Tropos are always welcome. They can be e-mailed or left in the drop box in the Union. E-mail tropos@lawrence.edu for more information or to get involved.

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