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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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The Normal School magazine highlights original works by graduate students and guest writers

The+Normal+School+has+a+variety+of+works+from+poems+to+fiction+pieces+written+by+graduate+students+and+guest+writers.+%28Graphic+by+Wyatt+Bible%2FThe+Collegian%29
The Normal School has a variety of works from poems to fiction pieces written by graduate students and guest writers. (Graphic by Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

National Geographic, Vogue and Cosmopolitan are all well known for their print editions, yet they all now have websites that function as digital magazines.

As the world evolves and technology advances, there will be an increasing amount of print media moving onto an online format, which is no different than what has happened with The Normal School, a magazine run by Fresno State fine arts graduate students.

They work to bring together a collection of interesting and meaningful pieces of literature in order to expose their readers to the different corners of human culture in an exploratory way.

“The magazine is an ongoing conversation about the norms of literary publishing, and we’ve kind of had a reputation for pushing the boundaries with that and publishing some stuff that’s maybe a little more experimental or a little bit harder to classify,” said Steven Church, who is one of three founding editors, as well as the current managing editor for The Normal School.

The Normal School’s print edition ran from 2008 until 2019, when it moved to a fully online format. As it continues into its 16th year, browsing the works published by The Normal School is easier now than ever before, and has even more potential to reach readers beyond the local audience in Fresno.

The Normal School maintains a rapid publishing pace throughout most of the year. While it used to have two print editions per year, it now has a schedule that requires works to be published more steadily.

“Now we do essentially eight issues a year,” Church said.

Each “issue” of The Normal School is categorized by a month on their website, and they publish several works per month from October through May. The Normal School reads through hundreds of submissions to decide which pieces to publish in each of their monthly issues. The first month of their new year is underway, and their first work for October is already published here.

According to Jefferson Beavers, communication specialist for the English Department, The Normal School has a commitment to publishing new and experimental works of creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction and multimedia.

The Normal School’s about page describes the publication as an online journal that “dig(s) quirky, boundary-challenging, energetic prose and poetry with innovations in content, form, and focus.” The page goes on to describe the publication as “sort of the lit mag equivalent of the kid who always has bottle caps, cat’s eye marbles, dead animal skulls, little blue men and other treasures in their pockets.”

The Normal School has also maintained a point of emphasis to publish works from lesser heard voices in society. The site features many poems, essays, short stories and other works from writers of color, writers with disabilities and writers from LGBTQIA+ communities.

The newest literary work published on the website is titled “A normal interview with Allegra Hyde by Mialise Carney.” The Normal School’s new calendar year begins with a few works from authors sami h. tripp, Rachel Sudbeck, Lee Campbell and Mauri Pollard Johnson.

The Normal School’s previous print editions are available to read on an online archive.

Correction Sept. 20, 2023:
An earlier headline on this story was incorrect. The Normal School magazine publishes works by professional authors from around the world, not just Fresno State graduate students.

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