Post Classifieds

The Chameleon gets a makeover

By Samantha Bubar
On December 8, 2011

Rewarding, surprising and fun describes The Chameleon, Norwich's literary magazine, said the chair of the department of English and communications, Brent Cox.

Cox, an associate professor of English and former faculty adviser for the magazine, said the best part of The Chameleon is "the fact that the students have ownership of it."

Student editors read the submissions, make decisions as to what gets published and how the selections get presented.

"As the faculty advisor, I obviously had responsibility for the magazine," said Cox, "but every issue of the Chameleon has belonged to the students."

The new faculty advisor is Spring Ulmer, a visiting assistant professor of English with a specialization in creative nonfiction. Her biggest hope for the Chameleon is "to excite people about writing."

Ulmer volunteered for the position with hopes to "spruce up" the Chameleon and to make it more exciting. To help draw attention the staff members chose a graphic for the flyer that is displayed around campus. "We came up with a graphic that was based on the riot that happened on campus after Osama Bin Laden's death," said Ulmer.

The goal of the Chameleon is to get students excited about writing. "We just wanted to catch the attention of students and say, ‘Hey you don't have to submit something that is something that you think of as high literature," said Ulmer. "It can be anything. Architectural plans or any type of form that you find fit."

Ulmer said that the standards of writing in 2011 are different than those of the past and there is less of a "genre concern" and more controversy. "There will always be poetry and fiction, but I didn't see enough experimentation [with writing on campus]. I didn't see anything that seemed to speak of something new or contemporary."

The main focus of the Chameleon staff meetings, Ulmer said, is trying to get students' attention and trying to get students involved. Even the flyer generated from the staff meetings reaches out to spark controversy. "Take us on a maddening runaway train ride through your thoughts, give us creative work you stand behind," as quoted from the flyer.

The flyer calls for submissions of "fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, napkin drawings, text messages, architecture plans, graffiti." Ulmer said, "I happen to think that students are creative but there is no outlet for creativity here."

Ulmer also said that the staff members would like to change the format of the magazine, the staff is looking for something with "a little bit more length."

One thing that Ulmer said one member of the staff is doing is looking at the history of the Chameleon. "I want a whole comprehensive read," said Ulmer, "I feel that on this campus we're still trying to discover what literature is."

"I think the magazine has made great strides in getting the word out and increasing the number of submissions," said Cox.

Submissions for the next issue can be made through email to sulmer@norwich.eduor slipped under the door of Webb 13. The deadline is Dec. 10. 

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