Alumnus to premiere Buffalo-based poetry magazine

By Janelle Harb

Features Editor

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The cover of the first edition of Foundlings

Canisius is home to a number of accomplished English and Creative Writing professors, as well as a multitude of established and published alumnae.  Joining these ranks is previous Griffin Editor-in-Chief, Aidan Ryan ’14, as co-editor of a new Buffalo-based poetry magazine, Foundlings.  The magazine is not just focused on aspects of Buffalo, however, as it features a number of writers outside of the Buffalo area, as well as spans over a range of different topics.  The magazine includes poems by Buffalo 2015 Member’s Contest Winner and Canisius alumnus Justin Karcher, and Academy of American Poets University and College Poetry Prize winner Max Crinnin, amongst many others.

“My friends and I used to get into the [Christ the King] Chapel at Canisius late at night, after 10PM, and spend the entire night, into the morning, just playing music,” Ryan explained as he recalled the beginnings of a lifelong friendship and partnership with his future co-founders.  “Once we graduated, we each were each set to move on to different things, and thought this might be our last opportunity to come together and do this one last creative project, which would keep us sane while we pursued jobs,” Ryan continued, “So we started into looking towards creating a poetry magazine because we noticed a void in the Buffalo area for one.”

As a Buffalo continues to become known as a city for its unique culture and youthful population, the local arts community has, in turn, flourished.  “Buffalo’s literary community is great,” Ryan stated, “it’s also very tightly knit, so once you know somebody, all of a sudden you’re connected to basically everybody else, and when we started out, we thought of this as a way to connect with these people more.”  Ryan has also taken advantage of Canisius’ expansive alumni network through contacting fellow Griffin and acclaimed poet previously mentioned, Justin Karcher ’07.  “I looked up his work,” Ryan explained, “and saw that he was published in The Buffalo News, then realized that his work would be perfect to publish in our magazine.”

In addition to Karcher, Ryan had also contacted his fellow past Griffin staff member, Darren Canham ’14 as the Art Director for the magazine.  Canham explained that “there was a moment when we must’ve had about a dozen pages done and it went from ‘Oh, all my friends want to put a poetry magazine together’ to ‘This thing could actually be something really cool that people that I don’t know personally will enjoy,’” he continued, “It moved from something that was created between friends to something that was created to be put out into the world.”

As a Creative Writing major at Canisius, Ryan explained how the close-knit department helped to spark his interest in writing, editing, teaching, and publishing.  “I think what’s great about the Creative Writing program is that it puts you in touch with a small community,” Ryan explained, “but it also surrounds you with writers who are respected in their field, put out good work, take you seriously, and you really can’t get that anywhere else.  Professors like Janet McNally, Kurt Schneiderman, Dr. Butler, and Dr. Cochrane all integrate that into the courses in very different ways,” he stated.  “Reading their work, sitting down and just talking about art with them in their office hours has definitely lead to this experience.  In missing that spirit, the editors have still found a way to express that [through this magazine].”  

In addition to his knowledge gained from the Creative Writing department, Ryan attributes many of his experiences in leadership and publishing to being a part of The Griffin.   

“Things [at The Griffin] were always crazy, but the pressure of putting something out relatively on time every week, as well as helping to build new markets has been invaluable,” Ryan continued, “I introduced delivering the papers door-to-door to all the dorms. You can’t just put something out there, you have to lead people to it, you have to evangelize your own product, that was very influential.  I was able to get the magazine in stores like Talking Leaves because I was so comfortable with doing that through The Griffin.

“We hope people like it,” Ryan concluded, “we also hope that we attract attention from people interested in this stuff.   We just want to be part of the community, and we want to be putting out something that people look forward to.”  The first edition of the magazine will be out by the end of April with an official unveiling on May 1.  Foundlings will be available at Talking Leaves on Elmwood Avenue, amongst other local locations, and purchase requests or future submission inquiries should be addressed to foundlingszine@gmail.com.  

 

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