Arts & Culture

7 Mondays lauches 23rd issue of journal showcasing student poetry and photography

7 Mondays is the only journal in Canada of its kind currently in production. Student edited and funded, the annual journal contains the writings and photographs of Mount Allison students. For many, 7 Mondays is the first place aspiring writers and photographers get to see their work printed. This weekend celebrates the launch of 7 Mondays’ 23rd volume.

Flaunting a beige cover and the original logo, the first issue of 7 Mondays came to campus in 1995. The endeavor was initiated by Anna Greenwood and Judy Halebsky. One of the editors, Elin Elgaard, was “wife of then poet, Mt. A English professor and longtime head of the English department, Michael Thorpe,” wrote fine arts professor Thaddeus Holownia in an e-mail to the Argosy.

Holownia has been instrumental in the journal’s production since 1996 and continues to fulfill the role of photography editor and production manager.

“That year [1996] the editors were Laurel Douma, Anna Greenwood, Judy Halebsky, Mark Purdon and Andy Taillon. [The journal was] printed in an edition of 300 copies with the support of the Students’ Administrative Council and the Sackville Film Society,” Holownia wrote
The journal began to print student photography in its third year of production. “500 copies were published and the funds came from the Marjorie Young Bell Fund, the Crake Foundation, the Sackville Film Society, the President’s Office, the SAC and the English department,” Holownia wrote, emphasizing the community support that sustained the journal in its early years.

By the time the sixth issue was published, the journal was fully funded by students through a levy that remains in place today.

Karissa LaRocque, who graduated from Mt. A in 2015, was the journal’s editor in chief in 2014 – the year of the journal’s “infamous referendum disaster,” as LaRocque described it. With a lack of student support for the levy, the journal was suddenly confronted with the possibility of going out of print.

In an e-mail to the Argosy, LaRocque wrote, “while it was frustrating to deal with some of the negative opinions about why students shouldn’t support the fee levy for the journal, it was nice in the end to not only pass the levy, but to also help MASU realise they needed to amend some of the contradictory language in their bylaws on referenda.”

LaRocque is referring to inconsistent MASU policy regarding requirements for passing referenda. MASU operational procedures, according to Mt. A alumnus Daniel Marcotte, stated that “referenda only need to achieve a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one to pass, unless they are constitutional changes, in which case they require a two-thirds majority.” In comparison, the constitution, which has primacy over procedural bylaws, only stated that “a two-thirds majority is required for referenda to be ‘deemed binding.’”

In 2014, the motion failed to pass based on Constitutional referenda requirements despite achieving the simple majority vote. In previous years the referendum had been passed based on the procedural bylaw of simple majority.

In a second vote, conducted after many discussions and phone calls with lawyers, the referendum passed with 12 counselors in favour and two opposed.

LaRocque is currently completing her masters in English at Concordia, works with the Committee for Equity and Visibility in Academia and a certain slumbering Canadian journal planning a comeback.

The continuation of 7 Mondays provided LaRocque’s successor Milo Hicks (’16) the opportunity to experience “one of the most rewarding parts of my time at Mt. A,” she wrote in an email to the Argosy.

“My time spent working on 7 Mondays helped me to step outside of my departmental bubble. Most of the editors were from disciplines other than English. Working closely with the fine arts department through Thaddeus made the journal feel like a truly collaborative effort,” Hicks wrote.
Hicks spent three years on the 7 Mondays editorial team, her last as co-editor in chief with Emily Crompton (’16).

“That year [2015-2016] we managed to do a lot of outreach into the community. Along with a writing group that met weekly, we worked with Marilyn Lerch, Sackville’s poet laureate, for National Poetry Month. Myself and some of the other editors were able to go into the local schools to chat to students about poetry and writing,” Hicks wrote.

Currently completing a master’s in English at McGill University, Hicks is researching embodied consciousness in modernist and contemporary experimental short fiction. She plans to pursue a PhD in the United States in 2018.

The weekly writing group Hicks referred to was initially established by then creative writing and English theory professor Geordie Miller who has since passed the baton to 7 Mondays. During the school year, the Egg Timer Writing Club meets once a week at Thunder & Lightning Ltd. to explore creative writing using a plethora of short timed prompts ranging from “write only words that start with ‘T’” to taking a crack at a six-minute sonnet.

Countless students have submitted their works to 7 Mondays over the years, but not all are selected for the journal. The editorial team reads and critically discusses every anonymously submitted poem and short fiction piece. A piece of writing needs a unanimous vote of approval in order to be accepted. Holownia independently selects photography submissions.

Norman Nehmetallah (’15) had multiple poems published in 7 Mondays during his time as a student at Mt. A. “I liked having some poems published in 7 Mondays. My neighbour, Maria, even framed one,” Nehmetallah wrote in an e-mail to the Argosy. He currently works as the digital and production manager at Coach House Books in Toronto.

Fine arts student Kevin Melanson (’17) has had writing and photography featured in multiple issues of 7 Mondays. “I think it’s a great journal, and even though some of the things that are put in it aren’t really my cup of tea I think it’s good for students to be able to be in a professional (and juried) journal,” Melanson wrote.

Melanson is graduating this weekend with a major in fine arts and plans to pursue an arts career based out of Sackville.

Like any small, independent journal, 7 Mondays has had to overcome many obstacles on top of the hard work and critical thought that its annual production necessitates. But to be certain, there is no feeling like holding the finished product you helped create in your hands or seeing your work in its pages.

7 Mondays now prints 1000 copies per year and you can pick up your very own copy of this year’s 23rd edition inside the Ralph Pickard library.

Student immerses self in one-of-a-kind student journal 7 Mondays. Andreas Fobes/submitted