In 2004, four writers had a vision to start a local publication for a variety of writers, a publication which reached its 10th anniversary mark this year.
“I was one of them [the founders] and the others were colleagues and friends: Michael Carrino, Linda Young and David Kovacs,” said Dr. Jose Torres of SUNY Plattsburgh, editor of the Saranac Review. “They have moved on, but their hard work and dedication helped jumpstart SR.”
SR is an annual literary journal with a mission to, according to its website, dissolve “boundaries of all kinds, seeking to publish a diverse array of emerging and established writers from Canada and the United States.”
The journal publishes in both digital and print formats, publishing works in the categories of creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry, along with subgenres of autobiography and memoir, cross-genre, flash-fiction, historical, political, prose poetry, narrative nonfiction and literary nonfiction.
For their 10th issue, the literary journal is being put together by a variety of editors such as William David Powel, art director, Elizabeth Cohen, poetry editor, and Kate Moses, fiction editor, with numerous associate poetry and fiction editors, assistants and a business consultant.
“It promises to be a unique issue,” Torres said. “It’s a special-box edition with beautiful artwork and fantastic writers.
“We’re a bit behind schedule, [but] we hope to crank it up a little in the next few months to hit our fall deadline.”
The 10th issue is currently accepting works until May 15 and will be released in print either in late September or early October, containing a variety of writers from both the United States and Canada.
“Over a period of five years, I solicited Canadians whose work I respected to submit poems to the journal in order to include the voices of poets across the border,” said Carol Lipszyc, associate poetry editor for SR. “The partnership supported by the college’s Canadian Studies program gave the journal a somewhat distinctive quality.”
Along with the Department of Canadian Studies, the journal gets support from the President, the Provost and the College of Arts and Sciences of SUNY Plattsburgh. Also, they get support from Friends of Saranac Review.
With the support they receive from various groups, they give back to the college and other writers, one of the reasons why the journal started in the first place.
“[The] literary journal is essential for a writing program, and we wanted to improve our writing option, which presently is the Writing Arts major,” Torres said. “Moreover, we felt it was essential to create a discussion space for regional writers as well as national and Canadian writers.
“The local community also benefits from the artistic ambiance a literary journal creates.”
The Saranac Review offers internship opportunities for their writing arts majors and also has become a literary home for writers not only in SUNY Plattsburgh but in the North Country and Vermont.
Over the years, they published award winning writers and received two Pushcart nominations, a project that was named among the most influential projects in the history of American publishing by Publishers Weekly that honors small presses and authors.
“People know of Saranac Review and respect our work, so it has gained prestige for our department and SUNY Plattsburgh,” Torres said. “And we’ve not only survived but thrived during those 10 years.”
After the release of the 10th issue, Torres will be stepping down as editor with Cohen and Moses taking his place as co-editors for the 11th issue. Even though he will be leaving, he said he’s leaving it in the capable hands of his fellow colleagues.
“It’s been a labor of love, for sure,” Torres said. “[It was] many hours of reading manuscripts, dealing with the challenges of producing a quality publication, and confronting the many problems involved in the production of a small literary journal, especially one transitioning to both print and digital formats.”
“I’m very proud of these 10 years and believe that SR has many more great years to come.”
After the issue comes out in fall 2014, the Saranac Review would like to hold a celebration, perhaps a gala, which might also serve as a fundraiser. If anyone would like to get involved in the celebration of the 10th issue, contact Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org.