Senior Elyse Guziewicz Carries On Campus Literary Tradition Editing Manuscript
Wilkes University senior Elyse Guziewicz of Duryea, Pa., knew she wanted to join the Manuscript Society as soon as she stepped on campus for her walking tour.
“It was something they talked to me about in my interview when I came to visit the campus when I was accepted,” she said. “As soon as I heard about it, I was like, ‘yeah, I’m there.’ I was already on the list and talking to people by the time I came to Wilkes.”
The English major has always loved literature and poetry, so it is no surprise that she is ending her four years at Wilkes as the executive editor of the creative writing and visual art magazine, Manuscript, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017. She also credits the English department’s ability to forge relationships with their students as her reason for choosing Wilkes.
“The English program here is fantastic. I really enjoy how small it is,” she said. “The fact that I can just show up at my professor’s office and be like, ‘Hey, Dr. (Helen) Davis, what do you think about this world event?’ Or I will send Dr. (Mischelle) Anthony poems on my own and have her look at them to give me feedback even though I don’t have any classes with her this semester.”
As an eager freshman, Guziewicz became a staff member of Manuscript and went home after her first year brainstorming ideas and concepts to continue its creative tradition and make it better.
Manuscript’s faculty advisors Sean Kelly and Chad Stanley and Mischelle Anthony, English department chair, have seen Manuscript develop, improve and tackle tough issues throughout the year. She is determined to make not only an impression on the creative community, but to show her predecessors that Manuscript is continuing its tradition of excellence.
By her sophomore year she was the copy editor of the literary magazine. As a junior and senior, she was the executive editor, a tall feat for anyone, especially someone with seven classes, two jobs and a capstone project that explores the themes of compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian identity in Sula by Toni Morrison.
“It has been a journey,” she said. “At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Manuscript has remained and continued to improve. Even with social media as prevalent as it is, it's hard to really communicate whole poems and artworks through most mediums. Literary magazines like Manuscript are important in an era where forms like poetry can be left on the wayside due to the simple inundation of information.”
Guziewicz oversees the full production of Manuscript, creates and disperses the submission posters, makes the blind submission packets for her staff members, and keeps an unbiased opinion when looking at submitted work.
In addition to her extracurricular activities and concentrations in literature, writing and digital humanities for her English major, Guziewicz added minors in women’s and gender studies and digital design and media art to help her with the progress of Manuscript.
“It’s a lot to be a part of that and there are faculty that have seen through many more years than I have,” she said. “I want to live up to the kind of quality that they have seen in past years as well. The literary magazine isn't dying or being overshadowed by other communication platforms; rather, it's our job to present ourselves in tandem with these platforms to help get art out there.”
Guziewicz is busy accepting submissions for the April 26 unveiling of the magazine. She is also planning, with the help of her staff, a trip to BookExpo America in New York City. It features the latest in print and digital book publishing and is the largest annual event of its kind in North America. The staff went last year and are looking forward to making it an annual trip.
Guziewicz is planning to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry after graduating from Wilkes. She wants to pursue a terminal degree that will bolster her applications to Ph.D. programs and teaching fellowships.