USC’s student-run arts magazine Palaver published its fourth issue this month, marking its second full year of publication after a seven year hiatus.
Amy Cannon, the Palaver faculty advisor and a Thematic Option lecturer, helped to reboot the magazine in Spring of 2017 with TO Executive Director Richard Edinger . It previously ran from 1998 to Fall 2010, and ceased publication because of its editor turnover rate, which made Palaver difficult to maintain, according to Cannon.
“When I was hired on at Thematic Option, they … wanted to draw on the fact that I had an MFA in creative writing,” Cannon said. “Along with teaching responsibilities, [faculty gives] service to the University … not explicitly tied to teaching, but are still enriching student experience in some way.”
The weekly TO newsletter sent out a call for editors, and Cannon brought together a team of eight students of different majors both within and outside of TO to restart the publication. These students formed the Palaver editing team, and began accepting submissions for online publication. Their first issue was titled “Ways To Break A Heart,” and featured a variety of poems, videos and other artworks.
Palaver’s emphasis is on the variety of voices, stories and forms that can interact together to form a complete publication.
“I want there to be a multiplicity of voices and perspectives and opportunities for students to share, even if they’re not an English major, or even if they’re not an art major, but [if] this is something that they feel drawn toward,” Cannon said.
Many students who aren’t academically focused on art forms they are passionate about have turned to Palaver as a place to explore the arts. The newest editor to the team, Poetry co-Editor Elizabeth Dassow, joined the team in Spring 2018. Since her academic interests were different, the sophomore majoring in law, history and culture and art history, found it difficult to integrate poetry into her life.
“Since my majors don’t really foster my love for creative writing and everything like that, [Palaver] gave me an outlet to be in the creative world, in the creative process, doing what I really love, and it’s given me an outlet when school just isn’t enough,” Dassow said.
Palaver encourages cross-artistic discussion and features four genres of art — poetry, prose, media and art.
“The reason that we do this, the reason why it is online and we have so many genres is because we’re really dedicated to starting a conversation between all the arts,” said Jordan Kessler, a media co-editor and a junior majoring in theatre. “That’s why each semester, our launch event is our most exciting piece, we get to get all of our artists in a room talking about all their works — you have poets asking graphic designers questions and relating.”
Palaver is different from other previous student art magazines, like USC Keck School of Medicine’s publication Synesthesia or the student-run literary magazine Adsum, in the variety of work it accepts and its very recent resurrection. Kessler said that this past issue had seen submissions as unique as a three-dimensional printed model and a comic book.
“The cool thing about being online, and also being so new, is that each issue can be unique — we’re not tied to any specific structure,” Kessler said.
Matthew Fresolone, a media co-editor and senior majoring in film and television production, is glad Palaver gives voice to students who want to share their talent and ideas, especially if they aren’t very outgoing or looking to pursue their art form professionally.
“I’m usually pretty shy about putting myself out there, especially with university clubs, and I really like that about Palaver,” Fresolone said. “Not just me being involved, but other people who all show up, who love to make things, but they’re all really shy themselves, so we love getting them to events, making them feel comfortable about talking about stuff that they probably don’t outside.”