Before February of 20¬16, Bates College did not have an active literary magazine. Bates has every club imaginable, from the Fat Cats competitive eating club to Knit Wits, a club for lovers of knitting. But as Eden Rickolt ’20 and Anna Maheu ’21, the now co-editor-in-chiefs recognized that winter, even with the abundance of interest-based spaces at Bates, the college lacked a place for the publication of student creative writing and visual art. These two friends quickly launched themselves into the process of starting a club and a magazine with the hopes of ending short term with a published magazine. According to Maheu, “many people approached us and said that they’d also been thinking about starting one, but getting it off the ground had seemed too daunting.”
While the process of starting the magazine was daunting and involved drafting a club constitution, finding a faculty advisor and negotiating a club budget, by March of 2016 the club had a full staff, and by April of the same year, the magazine was declared an official Bates club. During the first semester of last year, the staff worked to figure out how to market the magazine, how to get submissions, and then how to hold writing workshops.
Rickolt shared her goals for the workshopping process: “Our workshops are a place for writers to develop their craft, meet others that are interested in writing, and hone their editing skills.” Snaggletooth was never intended to be solely about the product, the final magazine, but rather was intended to create a space where writers and artists could learn and grow through a community-based creative process.
At the end of short term, Snaggletooth published its first magazine, a collection of student creative writing and visual art, as well as a website with even more. At the start of this year, Eden and Anna expressed to the staff that one of their goals for this year was to create organized, community based workshops. With the hopes of extending the participants of the workshops out from just the staff, the workshop process became more regimented, and was done in front of the writer, the staff, and any community members interested in joining. Snaggletooth has two guidelines: a workshop guideline and a submission guideline. Artists and writers are able to submit their work at the workshop deadline long before it is due for submission to the magazine as a chance to help their work be proof read and critiqued. These critiques happen during the workshop, when the writer is anonymous but present and when the work is read by the staff as well as other Bates students. Having the writer helps keep the staff accountable to make honest, and constructive critique, but also helps the writer watch a reader react in real time. This is where Snaggletooth helps create both community as well as fostering an environment where students can be both writers, and editors.
The production and distribution of the magazine and creation of the website has been another way in which Snaggletooth hopes to reach a wide audience. Rickolt says, “I think the physical magazine and website connect this creative work (that is usually more private) with readers and viewers, as well as put separate works in conversation with each other.” While there is a huge amount of clubs at Bates, Snaggletooth has stood out as an organization which works to create, share, and open up discussion on student creativity.