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CURA

CURA, Grabme, Creative Writing

As far as I know, CURA Magazine is the only journal in the country—perhaps even in the world—committed to integrating “the arts and social justice.” In developing it Fordham students have become “men and women for” for a global audience of readers and writers. I cannot imagine a better creative outlet for Fordham’s spiritual mission or one with wider-ranging potential benefits.... CURA has given artistic shape to Fordham’s “clear, still voice of conscience” and sent that voice out to a global audience. ~ Professor Susan Greenfield

CURA is the cornerstone publication of the Creative Writing program at Fordham University, linking the campuses, the undergraduate and graduate programs and providing mentorship and service opportunities to students.

CURA is a creation intimately tied to Fordham and the ideals that the University represents. The name CURA is taken from the Ignatian educational principle of cura personalis, care for the whole person. On its own, the word “cura” is defined as guardianship, solicitude, and significantly, written work.

Introduction

  • Gain Fordham course credit while acquiring hands-on, real world experience in creating a literary product in alignment with the current rapid changes in literary consumption. Professional skills, at industry standard levels, are developed in the following fields: print and new media editorial, marketing/publicity and event production. Participate in and learn about the growth of independent publishing.
  • Opportunity to work with material submitted by some of today's finest international authors/artists. CURA contributors have won Rockefeller, Guggenheim, American Book, and National Endowment for the Arts awards. Submissions are received from all over the United States, as well as from countries such as Mexico, India, Egypt, Indonesia, France and Austria.
  • Work to expand the boundaries of the literary magazine through a cost-effective, energetic tasking of both new media and the printed word. What forms of literature find their best form online? What forms of literature must remain as printed word? Propose strongly the idea that art, action and social responsibility can and should be inextricably intertwined.
  • CURA sits at the intersection of digital innovation, artistic expression, and compassion. This is your opportunity to help forge a unique creative space in the global literary community. This is where art is tangible progress. Here, words speak just as loud as actions.

Staff Expectations

  • Work cooperatively within a creative team environment comprised of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students
  • Exceptional writing ability, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Highly organized with attention to detail and the ability to be a self-starter and take initiative
  • Enthusiastically represent the magazine and spread knowledge of it through word of mouth inside and outside Fordham's classrooms.
  • Editor only: manage staff by drafting emails, planning meeting agendas, running meetings, facilitating brainstorming sessions, taking notes during meetings, and providing leadership and support.

Student Testimonials

My experience at CURA has been one of the most valuable experiences I have had in Fordham's English MA program. When I decided not to pursue a PhD after graduate school, I was terrified. Many of my friends who had graduated from Fordham's MA program in previous years were still struggling to find full-time jobs while working in service positions. Over the past year, I have been consistently anxious about the prospect of possibly having to return to waitressing after years of hard work in graduate school. When I saw that Fordham was offering a Literary Magazine class, I thought it would look good on a resume, and possibility help me get a part-time gig somewhere after graduation. I never imagined how much this experience would transform the trajectory of my life. If I had to describe the CURA class in one sentence, it would be: CURA is a professional training boot camp for a career in publishing and also a place of reflection on how to responsibly produce and curate knowledge and art. At CURA, I was able to develop professional skills and experience that has actually enabled me to obtain a full-time staff position at W.W. Norton & Company. At CURA, I was trained in marketing, event production, publicity, editorial work, fundraising, and so much more. I have done internships at professional publishers before, and you often just work on someone else's project in an incredibly micromanaged way (and sometimes you are simply getting coffee for people). The intern industry today does not teach you the skills you actually need to enter publishing. At CURA, you have the opportunity to gain these skills and produce work that can be used for professional clips. The reflection aspect of the class is focused both on thinking carefully about how to responsibly produce innovative mediums, and how to promote our message of social justice through art, but also about the publishing industry. Through our readings, discussions, and the events we were able to attend, I learned so much about the ever-changing publishing industry in the digital age. Learning the language of publishing and the current issues concerning digital publication gave me an edge on interviews, and impressed my potential employers. The CURA class is not just about skills and knowledge though, it is also about giving you confidence in your skills and inspiring a true passion for responsible publishing. The class's positivity has been a beacon of light for me in a very stressful situation (my impending graduation), and I truly believe that I would not have gotten my new job without the skills CURA has given me. CURA provides you with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and connections you need to succeed in a career search. I wish I could tell every English major at Fordham personally to take this class, because it has single-handedly launched my publishing career and been one of the most positive and confidence-building experiences I have ever had. CURA has given me so much that it is almost difficult to explain how passionate I am about this resource being available to all students. My only wish for CURA is that the program would be expanded to allow us to do more, because I can only imagine how wonderful CURA could be with expanded resources.

I wouldn't be giving this class enough credit if I stopped at saying that it provides students with "real-world" experience. I have learned how a literary magazine is made by having the opportunity to actually be the part of the process from submission to production. I've worked with an extremely passionate group of other undergraduate and graduate students to plan a large-scale magazine launch party. Our class worked with Professor Gambito to re-imagine the magazine's presence online. But the truth is that there is nothing quite like CURA in the "real-world." Being part of a project that combines art and social justice, a project unlike any other out there, was an experience that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. It took me a while to realize just how uncommon of a venture it was that I was involved in, though if it hadn't clicked before, it certainly did when we published a poet who had just been featured in The New Yorker on our website while at the same time adding sonnets written by previously homeless and/or incarcerated men who were being helped by The Doe Fund, the non-profit we partnered with this year. Literary magazines can be very academic, and in academic activities it can be easy to lose touch, to lock yourself in an ivory tower. CURA turns that notion on its head by producing a magazine of the highest quality while still cultivating a strong connection with the community and using art to make change on the ground.

If it were not for CURA, I would wonder what relevance the question I saw posted outside Fordham two years ago—“How will you serve?”—ended up having to my Master’s education. That question lured me in when I’d been out of school for such a long time, when I was tired from caring for young children, when I was busy with various freelance jobs. I was all those things but I was not settled on them, and I still felt hounded by a specific version of that question—Is there a way to use my love of writing and literature to serve others? When I saw that the answer might be found or at least posited in Fordham’s halls, I applied here. Only in the CURA class has that question been given shape and resonance. We have wrestled with, inflected and tested that question every time we’ve met. We asked it in the context of a changing landscape of publishing, with the realization that many people don’t read literary magazines, with the awareness that it is hard and nearly impossible for many to earn a living by writing or art. In this classroom we brainstormed ways to raise money for formerly homeless and incarcerated people who are training for jobs, saving money and getting their education and then we raised that money and even exceeded our goal. We read through submissions and offered our feedback, helped curate the magazine, created prompts, reviewed current publishing trends and considered the best way to position CURA. This class provides students with the opportunity to consider the excitement and challenges of the post-graduation phase of life, and to start developing skills that will serve them well in their careers, including writing, marketing, and working collaboratively. I am intensely grateful for this classroom space that considers art’s relationship to service and encouraging a conversation that will help us bring our daily practices in line with our highest ideals.

CURA has been one of the most inspiring and life-changing experiences that I've had at Fordham (and in general). I contacted Professor Gambito to see if I could get involved during my first year of the English PhD program. I was incredibly stressed about work and wasn't even sure if PhD students were allowed to participate, but I was determined to play some role in this magazine that was doing something (bringing together art and action in this particular way with a new media bent) no other magazine was doing. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for this unique, paradigm shifting opportunity. This has been an unforgettable experience for me that I truly feel all Fordham students should have in order to prepare them for the professional climate out there. It is my hope to execute a project like CURA one day.

As a senior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, I can safely say that CURA is the most exciting and rewarding initiative I've worked with during my four years here. I am the undergraduate editor of CURA at Lincoln Center, and I've learned how a professional literary magazine works: how to solicit for submissions, how to select them, how to lead a staff, how to edit, and how to publicize. These are all valuable skills that I need to enter the publishing industry, whose capital is right here in New York City. As an editor for previous publications at Fordham, I'm able to say that CURA has been more successful and has generated more student (and outside) interest than any other. We have seamlessly joined and added to the astounding New York City writing community, as well as internationally. We students at Fordham, and the university itself, pride ourselves as being proponents and guides of social justice. CURA furthers that by integrating the arts and social action, which are inherently linked, and we incorporate the mission of cura personalis--care for the whole person--as men and women with and for others. CURA is one of a kind, and it is vital to Fordham's community.

Working with CURA is quite possibly one of the best opportunities Fordham has afforded me, and I feel lucky to be part of it. CURA's call for "Art and Action" truly adopts Jesuit values in a vibrant academic way, expanding the Fordham community and tradition through the special ability of art to communicate. As an undergraduate at Fordham, "cura personalis" meant being a well-rounded student: taking core classes, engaging in service learning, joining clubs, and participating in Global Outreach. Often, academics and social justice were separated. CURA melds the two together, reminding me why I love Fordham. CURA is also something new to the literary scene. There are thousands of literary magazines and journals online, and with the current publishing shift from print to electronic sources, there is a good deal of competition. Which magazines will prove vital, imaginative, useful? I truly believe that CURA will be one of them, precisely because it puts forward something so essentially Fordham: art with a purpose. I am grateful for my opportunity to be a part of something so effective, and outside my time at Fordham, I know my experience with CURA will help me pursue a career in the literary field, as I have gained priceless insight from inside a new and thriving literary magazine.

CURA is the single most interesting project I've ever had the opportunity to work on. This is a truly unique experience- when I tell friends, family, and fellow writers about it, they all share the same excitement I feel. While I've worked on literary magazines for several years now, none have ever been like this. I have appreciated and enjoyed all of my experiences with magazine production, but working on this scale, on this level of professionalism and on this level of quality, is demanding but unbelievably rewarding. To be able to work with only the most talented, passionate people, especially in terms of both production and content, is rare. I thought I would be much, much older before being able to work with this caliber of writing and art. It's an experience not many my age are afforded, so I consider myself extremely lucky. CURA makes me so proud to be a Fordham student and to be part of a community as dedicated to social justice and the arts as this; nowhere else could I have had an opportunity equivalent to this one.

CURA is the most unique class I have had the privilege of taking in my three years at Fordham. Unlike other classes here, it actually affords students with real life experience and skills that will be used long after graduation. And I say this as a non-English major primarily interested in public health and the non-profit sector, meaning that the skills taken away for those interested in careers related to publishing or writing are easily triple the already incredible amount that I got out of this class. CURA exposed me to the practicalities of running a business (cost-effectivity, maintaining edge and relevance etc.), creating effective marketing campaigns, putting on a gala event, and fundraising, all of which will be incredibly useful for me in my professional life. It also gave me the opportunity to explore the relationship between social justice and art, which is what sets CURA apart and makes it such a commendable and sensible part of the Jesuit tradition at Fordham. This class is truly one-of-a-kind, and I highly recommend it to other undergrad/grad students looking for a taste of the real world and/or interested in participating in a great cause!

I believe that CURA has prepared me for a job more than any of my classes or internships have. The unique thing about working on this magazine is that although I am a student, my ideas and work are valued as if I am an employee. The entire staff is comprised of students, but we are producing a professional magazine on par with those produced by full-time paid staff. As an editor, I am in a leadership position, so I have more responsibility than in my internships. Also unlike my internships, I see the direct results of my projects. My favorite thing about CURA is seeing the magazine come together from the very beginning stages where we read submissions to the final stage where the magazine is posted online. Seeing my hard work come together in a finished production and understanding how my efforts contributed to that creation is an experience I rarely got in three internships in the publishing industry.

Next year, I am attending graduate school at The University of Illinois for a Master's in Librarian and Information Science. Their program is the most prestigious and competitive in the country. In addition, recently I got hired for a graduate assistant position with The Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books. The application process for the job was very intense, but without it I would not have been able to afford to go to graduate school. During the interview, the Editor-in-Chief of The Bulletin was extremely impressed with my experience with CURA. She stressed that the job is very independent and I will have to manage other students and volunteers whom also work on The Bulletin. I was easily able to speak to my leadership skills as well as my experience with editing and publishing. I honestly think that I wouldn't have gotten this job if I didn't work on CURA. CURA was an asset to my educational experience at Fordham and it should continue to be supported so other students can have similar experiences. I would say my experiences were equivalent to, or even more valuable than, what I learned in a year of interning.

CURA has opened up a community to me and my fellow students that I previously thought was reserved for the literary elite. Before CURA, I thought that as an undergraduate, I would not have access to this exclusive and elusive literary community. Now, I see that artist creation is a collaborative experience and every artist needs the support of one another. Here at CURA, we are a group of peers. We are professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students all seriously passionate about art. We are pioneers of art in action. Our roles as students who run a successful literary magazine prove that anyone with a serious interest in creativity can have access to this open and welcoming community.