By Hannah Rinehart, Guest Columnist
My name is Hannah, and I’m a graduate of the class of 2023. I am also the former Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury Literary Magazine, and in my senior year, I was an intern at the Gettysburg Review. Today, as I’m writing this, the Gettysburg Review has announced via Instagram that they are being forced to close their doors and cease releasing volumes, which they have been doing for 35 years. Cutting this literary magazine would not only disadvantage future Gettysburg College humanities students, but this also shows us that Gettysburg College will deliberately undermine literature on its campus.
The Gettysburg Review, before I came to know it so intimately, already had a national reputation as being a literary magazine with excellent collections. What I wasn’t expecting was to get so close to its two staff members, Mark and Lauren, and feel at home in its building across from McKnight.
There is nothing more beneficial to the literary arts on Gettysburg’s campus than the Gettysburg Review. Not only for the internships offered every semester, but also for the worldwide attention and love Gettysburg College receives from it. Writers of short stories, essayists, and poets are grateful for literary magazines because it’s how they get their work to readers, and readers enjoy subscriptions of only the finest work that Mark and Lauren (and sometimes an intern) selects.
I read submissions from around the world in my internship — I distinctly recall reading one from Germany. I got advice from Mark and Lauren about going to a publishing institute in Denver; Mark wrote a very last-minute recommendation letter for me while I made my choice to apply. When the English Department held their English Honors presentations, Mark and Lauren were there watching us present, and then gifted each of us with a life-time subscription. Their gestures and continuous dedication to showing Gettysburg’s students editorial and literary experiences is essential to the happiness and success of my peers in a field where too much is already challenged and revoked in preference for STEM or other pursuits.
The Gettysburg Review also gives back a lot to the campus community, despite dwindling funding. The literary magazine produces speaker events each semester and collaborates with the English department and the Mercury as often as possible. I was there when we greeted two poet speakers last fall, and I witnessed their interactions with Mark and Lauren. They were personal, lively company and have clearly been visiting Gettysburg numerous times to meet with the Review and sincerely enjoyed engaging with the college. If given the chance, the Gettysburg Review could expand; I know its staff has plans and the passion to go after it all.
What disappoints me the most is how my former supervisors are taking the news. They care so much about the success of the Gettysburg Review that they have stayed strong since their team has dwindled down (not by their own doing) to only two employees, with the help of seasonal interns. My heart goes out to them.
I am a triple legacy of Gettysburg College, and I have had pride in this institution since I was very young. I do not feel that today. I feel saddened and deeply disappointed in my alma mater, because not only will I be grieving this loss, but also people I hold dear and writers (literally) around the world. I urge Gettysburg College to reconsider this radical and absurd decision. I also encourage other Gettysburgians who have cared about the Review to protest and let them hear your disapproval.
Encouraging a diverse literary arts education is great, but is hypocritical when cutting down such a well-loved community asset like the renowned Gettysburg Review. I would not have come to love this college as much as I do without it.