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Hedge Apple is fruit of writers' labors

April 29, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

For the first time in more than a decade, Hagerstown Community College has a literary magazine.

Hedge Apple is a 58-page collection of poems, fiction, art and essays by former and current students as well as writers from outside the college community.

"The unusual thing about this for a community college is we have national submissions for poetry," said English professor Askold Skalsky, who plans to print the magazine annually.

Lynn Lifshin, one of the contributors, is a prolific poet with some 2,000 works already published, according to Skalsky. John Veira, also a poet, has been published in magazines such as AGNI and Rolling Stone.

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Skalsky said he wants half of Hedge Apple's contents to be works by HCC students, graduates and workers. The other half of the contents will come from authors and artists in other communities.

The magazine is named after trees on campus. A row of the Osage orange trees, also known as hedge apples, stand on a hill between the classroom building and the library.

The thorny branches bear a fruit that ripens and falls in the autumn, according to the magazine.

"The thick-boled, rough-barked trees, lines like the arcaded columns of a Romanesque terrace, and the distinctive fruit form one of the picturesque landmarks of the Hagerstown Community College campus," it reads.

Skalsky presented the finished product to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday. Reprographics Services printed 300 copies and Hagerstown Bookbinding and Printing bound them for a total cost of less than $700, he said.

"The content is quite good," Skalsky told the board. "The only weakness might be the paucity of art submissions." There are three reproductions in the magazine. Jean Bercaw, an HCC graduate, also drew hedge apples for the cover.

Skalsky said copies will be distributed to each contributor, area libraries and all the state's community colleges. Remaining copies will be free to students but they may be available in local bookstores for $3.

The college has not had a literary magazine for nearly 15 years, according to Skalsky. Writers and artists interested in submitting work for next year's edition can call 301-790-2800, extensions 484, 297 or 254 to reach the editors.

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