Student writing gallery ‘Vinette’ left unattended in cyberspace

Courtesy Photo /

Courtesy Photo /

Patrick Nothaft

Grand Valley State University writers will need to show initiative in order to keep one of the school’s literary publications afloat. Vinette, GVSU’s online gallery of professional writing, has stopped publishing indefinitely due to a lack of student interest.

The annual publication, which began in September 2007, is looking for GVSU students to read submissions and update its website.

While Vinette is on hiatus, a new student publishing outlet has emerged to fill the void. Cohesion is a satire news and literary journal that launched at the start of the Fall 2010 semester. Although it is not a professional-style outlet similar to the Vinette, it has more variety and plans to produce several publications each semester.

Vinette focuses on student-submitted professional-style writing, such as academic essays, creative nonfiction, journalistic articles and professional documents. Examples of print design and web design are also featured on the site.

Charlie Lowe of the GVSU writing department has worked with Vinette organizers in the past and says while the online publication is struggling right now to find student support, it has not shut down entirely.

“I don’t know what Vinette’s current plan is for this year, but it would be inaccurate to describe it as having ‘folded,’” Lowe said. “They might turn around this year and decide to publish something. The students decide what they want to do.”

Writing students at GVSU can enhance their resumes and display their writing to the campus community by publishing their work on Vinette. GVSU senior Claire Helakoski said her creative nonfiction piece, “Shoespeak,” helped her complete the Distinction in Writing program as part of her creative writing major.

“(Shoespeak) is my one published piece at Grand Valley,” she said. “The writing department must think highly of Vinette because it counts as a publication for the Distinction in Writing.”

The opportunity for publication also compelled GVSU senior Jana White to submit a creative nonfiction piece in 2009.

“As a creative writing major, we are encouraged to publish wherever we can, so I just took the opportunity,” she said. “It’s something to put on my resume, and it’s a personal accomplishment knowing that your work is out there for others to see.”

Vinette’s online existence means that there are no limitations on the length or number of writings published on its website.

“Fishladder only publishes two, maybe three stories in each genre because there’s so little space when you have a physical publication, but if you have an online publication you can have as many pieces as you want,” said Helakoski, who reviews submissions for GVSU’s annual student journal of art and writing. “It has to do with the space in Fishladder because everyone tries to publish in it, but nobody gets published – there were only two creative nonfiction pieces published last year.”

While the physical status of GVSU’s journal of art and writing may limit the number of students who can write “Fishladder contributor” on their resume, it increases its recognition around campus.

Helakoski, who was notified about Vinette through a writing department e-mail, says that one of Vinette’s problems was that it was difficult to find any sign of the online publication around the GVSU campus.

“They didn’t have enough promotion,” she said. “I didn’t really know it existed, and because they don’t have a physical publication, it’s hard to track them down.”

As for the professional writing gallery of GVSU, it sits untended in cyberspace waiting for an ambitious student make the keystrokes that give the website a second chance.

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