A version of this story originally appeared in The Words.

Zeena Fuleihan ’18

This fall marks the sixtieth anniversary of Chanter, Macalester’s longest-running student literary magazine. To celebrate this outstanding achievement, we have put together a special book, Sixty Years of Chanter: an anthology. This anthology has been a long project, beginning with reading through Chanter’s entire archive and ending with the production of the 152-page book, released on December 9th.

As the current Editor-in-Chief, I have been fortuitous enough to experience Chanter in multiple ways: as a member, leader, contributor, and through the lens of looking backward as I helped lead the production of the anthology. This project began a long time ago as the idea of former Editor-in-Chief Xander Gershberg ’17, but it was not until last summer that the work really sped up and the anthology began to take tangible shape. In the previous year and a half, some Chanter staff began the process of reading through the archives, selecting pieces to include in the anthology, and sending out permissions emails. With the input of many English faculty, Chanter members, and a few English alumni, we read through about twenty years of Chanter’s past issues.

When I took over leadership of Chanter in the summer, we still had forty years to get through, as well as finalizing permissions, layout, coordinating a book schedule with our printer, and planning the release party. I enlisted Literary Editor Claire Grace ’19 to help me spearhead the project, and we got a couple staff members on board to read through the remaining forty years of magazines in August. We sent out permissions letters and emails in September, finished the layout and copy edits in October, and finally sent the finished product to the printer in early November. Alongside the anthology process, we also maintained regular function of Chanter, and released the Fall 2017 issue simultaneously with Sixty Years of Chanter in early December.

Looking back at the vast history of Chanter at Macalester, I feel incredibly fortunate to attend a school that so highly values creativity and art. I find it nothing short of astounding that amid the mayhem that is student life in college, Chanter has persevered to share student literature and art in a professional manner with the rest of the community for sixty years. Despite the fact that membership and the leaders of Chanter constantly shift as students graduate, study abroad, or change interests, it is clear through the prolific publication of Chanter that Macalester as a community and a student body places true value on creative expression. To me, this is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a community and a college: art is very often the vehicle through which the chaos of life and this world can be filtered, challenged, understood, or analyzed. It is imperative that we as a community never cease to engage with what it is to be human and a part of this world, something that we can easily forget in the rush to write papers and study for exams.

Sixty Years of Chanter: an anthology represents more than the long survival of Chanter at Macalester. It reveals the determination of the students and community to push ourselves and each other, and to persist in the creation and distribution of art.

May 16 2018

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