One of the Oldest Is One of the Newest

A pen rests on a manuscript

The reinvigorated Dickinson Review gets a face-lift

by Tony Moore 

You probably already know this, but just in case: Belles Lettres, Dickinson’s literary society, is one of the oldest in the country, having been founded in 1786 (all you history buffs will probably notice that this was the year before the U.S. Constitution was adopted). And The Dickinson Review, the organization’s annual literary journal, has been around since the beginning.

But the Review is undergoing some changes, and subsequent issues coming to a magazine rack near you will be geared toward grabbing potential readers before they ever read a page.

“This year we're going to do things differently,” says Allison Charles ’14, co-president of Belles Lettres and co-editor of the Review, along with Colin Tripp ’14. “We discovered that how it’s been done isn't really an unchangeable tradition but just how it’s always been. So we're changing how it’s done, and it’ll begin with a new, dynamic cover design.”

And that element, as is the case with nearly every aspect of the Review, will come at the hands of students.

“It's all student-run, student-generated, so it's great for skill-building for future work,” says Assistant Professor of English Siobhan Phillips, one of the Review’s advisors. “Putting together a journal and thinking about selection, content, layout, the feel of the whole thing—these are interesting and important elements that can lay the groundwork for future writing and publishing endeavors.”

Adding to the practical value of the Review is a guest speaker being brought to campus by Belles Lettres, Nicola Mason, of the Cincinnati Review. Mason is slated to come on Feb. 10 to give lectures on production and copy-editing and provide the Review’s editorial staff with some added guidance. Mason will also serve as the judge for the “best of” in poetry, prose and visual art, fields Charles hopes to expand through outreach this year.

“I'm interested in showing people's work and highlighting the talent we have on campus,” she says. “We're going to have some literary events and meet with groups like eXiled, a slam poetry group, and Arts Collective. I want it to help form more of a community of artists on campus, because there's so much talent!”

Writers and visual artists from the student body, faculty and staff are encouraged to submit (, and all creative-writing genres are welcome. The Dickinson Review is published annually, with the new issue appearing in March 2014.

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Published February 4, 2014