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Hot Off the Press

(Left to right) Crystal Williams, Lara Stapleton, Rey Harris
(Left to right) Crystal Williams, Lara Stapleton, Rey Harris
June 11, 2014

Hot off the press, The Guild magazine features poetry, fiction, essays and artwork by BMCC student writers.

The magazine was produced by the Guild, a BMCC club open to all students and led by faculty advisor and fiction writer Lara Stapleton.

Its current president is Crystal Williams, and the incoming president is Rey Harris, who plans to transfer to Binghamton, SUNY eventually, and major in Theatre and Technical Design. His skills in these areas came in handy as they put the magazine together.

“I wanted to make it visually appealing,” he says, and set out to do so using graphic design software; first Photoshop CS5, then Illustrator, then InDesign.

Step One: Secure the funds

“First, I had to come up with a budget proposal to produce the magazine,” says Crystal Williams, “then Rey came along and said, ‘I’ll do the design’, which saved us a lot of money.”

She submitted the budget to the BMCC Media Board; individuals from the Student Government Association and the Office of Student Affairs.

“We had to get five different bids for the printing,” she says, “with different numbers of copies, and we had to specify paper size.”

Next they issued a call for submissions through the English department faculty and posted flyers around campus.

Once the work came in, production began.

Before, says Williams, “the magazine was broken into categories, but we mixed it up.”

“There was a method to our madness," Harris adds. "We organized with themes, like nature and angst.”

Student Voices Showcase

In addition to producing a magazine, one Friday night each semester, the Writer’s Guild sponsors the Voices Showcase.

“It’s an open mic and a party,” says Crystal Williams. “Each reader gets five minutes, and we have pizza and snacks.”

The Showcase also features a special guest artist; most recently the popular actress and writer Liza Jessie Peterson, described on her website as “a gangsta goddess with honey on the blade.”

“It was our best turnout,” says Williams. “We filled the room out of seats.”

Bringing student writers together is a priority for incoming Guild president Rey Harris.

“In teh fall, I would like to use a lot of the strategies Crystal used,” he says.

“I’d like to set up tables at the entrance to the college and hand out flyers and issues of The Guild magazine, and also reach out through the English professors.”

Day trips and Speakers Series

“So many students want to write,” says Lara Stapleton, faculty advisor for The Writer’s Guild.

“But at a commuter school like BMCC, many of them are writing in isolation; in their journals, for example, and they don’t get to spend time together outside class, working on their writing.”

To create that experience, she sets up day trips for the Writer’s Guild; visits to locations just outside New York City, such as at Beacon, a small town in upstate New York and a mecca for emerging writers, artists and musicians.

She also coordinates a speaker’s series for the Writer’s Guild, which in addition to Liza Jessie Perterson, recently featured Abiodune Oyewele and Julia Grub.

Support for the Guild student writers has also come from English professor Adele Kudish.

“The magazine looks great, doesn't it?” she says.

“I talked to the Guild about how to start the work on it and explained the different aspects of publishing.”

The students, she says, “were extremely motivated to publish the magazine. As a member of the English faculty, I'm so proud of them and impressed by their hard work and dedication. I hope they continue the tradition of publishing a journal every year.”

How to get your work published in The Guild

Contributors to the current issue of The Guild are Eddie Acousa, Elvis Ayala, Josua Caseres, Rey Harris, Malatya Hekimhan, Solomon Henderson, Angela Hong, Vanity LaPree, Alexis Rodriguez, Sumaiya Sarwar, Enzo Scavone, Beverly Terry, Jed-Rene Tulia, Cynthia Toro, Victor Vauban Junior and Alex Walker.

It was produced by Rey Harris, Graphic Designer and Illustrator; Angela Hong, Editor; Solomon Henderson, Graphic Designer; Afroja Islam and Jed-Rene Tuliao, Assistant Editors and Crystal Williams, Magazine Director.

All BMCC students are welcome to attend The Writer’s Guild meetings in room M-1105 on Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“We give each other feedback on our work, constructive criticism,” says Rey Harris.

He also makes it clear that BMCC students do not have to be a member of the Writer’s Guild to submit their original work to The Guild magazine, at

The editors will consider short fiction, journalism, feature writing, autobiographical writing, essays and poetry up to 3,000 words in length, no more than ten pieces per submission, saved to a Microsoft Word file.

They also invite submissions of up to ten pieces of visual art such as photography, illustrations, paintings and graphic designs saved to a high-quality jpeg image.

The artist or writer must also submit a brief bio.

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  • The Writer's Guild, led by faculty advisor Lara Stapleton, meets to share and give feedback on each other's writing
  • They edit and produce an annual literary magazine, The Guild magazine, to showcase student work
  • They also present the Student Voices Showcase

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