In past years, the editors have used this opportunity to highlight the remarkable breadth of student work published in Angles. That breadth is no less evident in Angles 2019, but we would like to take this opportunity to call attention to a feature of Angles that is not visible in the published magazine: the distinctive collaborative relationship between the editors and the student writers. During the school year, instructors are trying to cover ground—to introduce their students to multiple genres and to expand each student’s repertoire of communication strategies and skills. Instructors would love to linger with each student exploring all of the possibilities latent in each assignment, but there is never enough time.
Angles opens up new possibilities precisely because the editing process takes place over the summer. In this less-pressured context, the editors can approach their task with the same assumptions that they would bring to the editing of a colleague’s work: every work of writing benefits from critical feedback offered by a receptive reader. Over the summer each of the editors offers that kind of feedback to student writers. From that moment on, the writer and the editor become partners in a creative endeavor. These talented writers get the undivided attention of an experienced reader, and the editors get to watch a writing project, once produced in the context of a particular class, turn into an independent work of art.
The joint endeavor often brings serendipitous discoveries. The following examples hint at the range of those discoveries. The editor working with David Dezell Turner on his investigative piece, “Headspace,” was invited into the unfamiliar mental universe of astronauts. She was “fascinated, wondering what it would be like to be suspended in space for months (or longer!) with other astronauts.” The editor working with Ishaan Govindarajan on “The Sitcom Theory” found herself confronting the unfamiliar task of editing a graphic narrative. Together, the editor and Ishaan explored different ways to clarify and enhance the relationship between the textual and visual elements. The editor working with Neosha Narayanan was intrigued by the unfamiliar landscape described in “Homeland” and wondered if Neosha happened to take any photos in Greenland? She certainly did—an entire portfolio! Suddenly, here was a chance to expand the visual experience of readers new to Greenland’s austere and entrancing landscape.
Henry James once offered this advice to aspiring writers: “Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.” Many of our young writers are well on their way to being those people—they are noticing and capturing details that bring their readers into the distinctive worlds they have created in their essays. It has been a delight to serve as their partners and guides.
Karen Boiko, Susan Carlisle, Andrea S. Walsh, and Cynthia Taft