Katherine McCabe / Gavel Media

Submission Shoutout: BC Stylus & Black Ink

As the oldest club at Boston College, BC Stylus is known for its aesthetically appealing covers and curated collections of student work. Started in 1882, Stylus was the first student publication at BC, and is now one of the oldest in the US. Students submit their poetry, prose, and art to the biannual magazine that is printed each semester.

Located in the back of Mac, the Stylus office contains copies of every past issue of the magazine. A cozy space with couches and desktop computers, the office is a workspace for editors and contributors to collaborate. A typical Stylus meeting includes anonymous readings of submitted works, a discussion of each piece, and a final vote on which works will be featured in the magazine. The voting process is conducted by members who have attended at least three meetings.

Dan Ulanovsky, MCAS ‘22, is working with other students on a new project for Stylus called Black Ink. Ulanovsky serves as a layout editor for Stylus. Acknowledging a lack of spaces for Black voices at BC, he hopes that Black Ink can be a way for students to share their stories. “We want to create a dedicated platform for these experiences,” he says. 

In creating Black Ink, Stylus editors considered how they hoped to use the platform as a way to highlight stories from Black students. “We were wavering about how we wanted to present this in the beginning,” Ulanovsky said. “We decided that Black Ink should be explicitly for Black students.” Stylus is working with the Black Student Forum (BCBSF) on the project. Ulanovsky hopes the collaboration can allow for advising and input from both groups. 

“We just want people to submit their feelings, thoughts, and experiences,” Ulanovsky said. “[They] don’t have to be an English major or a poet, we want to hear what’s troubling them, what’s concerning them, what has them excited about the future.” Stylus aims for Black Ink to be a unique forum where Black students can comfortably share their work in a space that has been historically dominated by white voices. “We care more about the content and the heart,” Ulanovsky said. “It can be an essay, or a stream of consciousness, or a series of haiku that are actually tweets—it can be whatever format you like. [We] want to see people’s figurative impressions of life at BC.”

BC Stylus has three rules of every meeting: 1) Constructive criticism only, 2) Members must go to three meetings before they’re qualified to vote on pieces for the magazine, and 3) If you know the meaning of the work, don’t share it before it reveals itself. For students who are unsure about submitting a piece to Black Ink, consider the first rule of BC Stylus, according to Ulanovsky. “Our aim is to get all the meaning, truth, and honestly that is expressed in a writer’s written experience,” Ulanovsky said. “Anything you care about and want to write about.”

The deadline for submissions to the Fall 2020 Stylus edition is November 6, and submissions for Black Ink are due April 9. To read some of Stylus’ previously published work, visit its website here. For more information on how to submit your writing or art, head to this page. Check out @bcstylus on Instagram for updates on Black Ink.

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