The Columbus Anthology
Congratulations to Amanda Page, MFA, MCCN associate professor, who recently published a collection of pieces from local artists, activists, writers, and musicians, as well as other Columbus citizens, to depict what Columbus is becoming. Below is a Q&A with Professor Page regarding her project, The Columbus Anthology.
How long did this project take you?
I first pitched this project to the editor of Belt Publishing toward the end of 2016. We corresponded about it, but it didn’t really get in motion until I was helping coordinate pieces of the first Flyover Fest. I met the founder of Belt at the book fair, and we started talking about it again. I signed a contract a week or so later. That was late spring of 2017. I put a call for submissions out that summer and started meeting with the editor at The Ohio State University Press, which is co-publishing The Columbus Anthology with Belt Publishing. So, I’ve essentially been working on this project for three years now.
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
I was aware of Belt Magazine and Belt Publishing’s City Anthology Series because of my interest in regional cultures and place-based literature. I followed Anne Trubek on Twitter for years and watched her develop and grow Belt Publishing. In 2016, I started helping Wild Goose Creative with a project they were building called the Flyover Library. The idea was to collect books by and about writers in the Midwest. It was after the launch for the Flyover Library that I thought that maybe Belt would be interested in publishing an anthology of Columbus writing.
What is your favorite thing about this book?
My favorite thing about The Columbus Anthology is the community of writers who contributed to the project. I do like that it is a small piece of the larger conversation about who Columbus is as a city, but that piece of the conversation takes place among the writers who are writing in the city, and often about the city. Columbus is full of really talented, exceptionally hard-working, incredibly giving writers. This anthology is essentially a snapshot of work by a fraction of those writers.
What do you want everyone to know about this project?
I want everyone to know that this is really just a beginning. In the three years this anthology has been in production, more writers have emerged, moved here, developed their craft, made their way to the stages in the various venues that nurture writers in this town. You could publish an anthology once a year and not capture the entirety of talent here. It’s also just a small piece of that larger conversation, because of course the writers in a place are not the only ones shaping the definitive culture of a place.
I also want to everyone to know that there is incredible comic and graphic work, as well as amazing fiction, created in Columbus. The Belt series anthologies typically cover poetry and nonfiction, which is why we stuck to those two genres. There is one comic in the anthology, which the editor at OSU Press and I landed on, but I do think Columbus could have its own comic anthology one day. I hope to see that happen, edited by a comic and graphic artist in Columbus.