One of the projects I started working on more than five years ago was bringing the Shenandoah Literary Magazine online. I got the gig thanks to the late and very great Claudia Emerson, who I had been working with on a literary journals class at UMW. Many smarter than me can speak to Claudia’s legacy as a poet, but I can and will testify to what an awesome teacher and person she was. I miss her regularly.
In the Summer of 2010 I started working with Rod Smith, the editor of Shenandoah, and he agreed to move the journal to a WordPress multisite instance that Martha Burtis and I designed.
Five years later it’s still going strong, in fact it has steadily been picking up traffic since 2011 when it first took the plunge online. What’s more, I have a very agreeable relationship with Rod. We work pretty well together, and I think we’ve made a fairly good team. I enjoy managing the site so that he can introduce a new cadre of Washington & Lee University students to the journal each semester. These students help bring some excellent writing to the open web gratis. It also keeps me connected to the work I did with Claudia for the literary journals course. That was the most praxis-oriented course I’d ever been a part of, and I loved it. We had four or five groups of students per class that were tasked with both conceptualizing and creating a full blown literary journal in less than 15 weeks.
My own teaching was greatly influenced by Claudia’s willingness to experiment and explore, and after we ran the Literary Journals course together for a couple of semesters I got the offer to teach CPSC 106 (what would soon after forever be known as ds106!). In a strange convergence, at the same time I was working on Shenandoah’s first online issue, a bunch of us got the idea to bring ds106 to the open web as well. And while my work with ds106 and Shenandoah has been very different, in my mind they are deeply connected. So early this week we pulled the trigger on the tenth online issue signalling the fifth year of Shenandoah online. Time flies when you are populating the internet with both high and low CULTURE!!!
I miss her too. Nice to see this legacy to her brilliant mind and amazing teaching.
She was, indeed, awesome. Few people I ever met so openly and honestly talked about their work like Claudia. I remember her talking to me outside my house about her Hogzilla poem for quite a while, and everything was right there. So wild.