Sex and love in print

Sexuality and love are common themes on campus – at least in GW’s longest-running student art and literary magazine, Wooden Teeth.

“If you read the past issues, you will see that there is a style that GW students consistently lean towards,” editor in chief Aaron Friedman said.

After a class activity inspired him, Friedman studied past issues to spot recurring themes in past editions of the magazine. While times have changed, the themes have not.

With only two print publications released each year, the literary magazine accepts poetry, prose and two-dimensional art submissions from students, faculty and staff.

Friedman said students submit pieces via e-mail and some even slide them under the Wooden Teeth office door. Submissions can be anonymous. The submission due date is March 21, but Friedman may extend it to March 28 to accommodate procrastinators.

Every Tuesday, the editorial staff reviews the past week’s submissions, conversing about the strengths and weaknesses of each piece. There is a preliminary vote and then a final review in March for previously accepted works and all artwork.

“It’s not really fun to judge a piece, it’s fun to find a good piece,” said Friedman. “With a good piece you get really excited because you know that this hasn’t been published before and you’re one of the first to read it, and you almost feel like this is a voice that needs to be heard.”

Wooden Teeth spends April putting the magazine together and prints the magazine during reading days with the help of the Student Activities Center’s Creative Management, which pays for the magazine’s printing costs. Roughly 500 copies of each edition are available outside of its office in the Marvin Center and in Phillips Hall.

Submissions editor Laura O’Dea, a junior, estimated that roughly 95 percent of submissions are from students, while the other 5 percent are from faculty and staff. She said that about 65 percent of submissions are poetry, 10 percent are prose and fiction, and 25 percent are two-dimensional art pieces, printed in black and white.

Wooden Teeth will consider almost any work, although it will not publish more than three pieces from a single author or artist. The org only accepts a few works of fiction, so it warns that anything longer than 5,000 words will have to be stellar.

In general, it is not length that Wooden Teeth concentrates on. O’Dea looks for pieces that are “relevant, well-written and memorable.” To be memorable, O’Dea said, you should have a good command of description and punctuation, while writing about something different.

“Really use spacing well, it can make a poem really good,” Friedman advised, “Don’t lock yourself into a rhyme scheme for the sake of rhyming.”

When asked what he looks for in poetry, Friedman said metaphors are wonderful.

“There’s really no reason not to submit. We are all very mature going over stuff and nobody is going to judge you. Even if you do get a rejection letter, we always give you the reasons and feedback on ways to improve,” O’Dea said.

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