L’Esprit is the CCC literary magazine of poetry, short stories, fine art works and photographs. The name comes from the French word for spirit. It was the brainchild of Arthur Collins, and was designed as a way to showcase the literary talents of the college students and staff. Begun in 1971, the early issues were typed and then printed in black and white. The magazine was sixteen pages long and contained only poetry and prose. It was published twice a year.
As the school grew, sketches, art, and photography were added. It was changed to an annual publication of about thirty pages.
The present day version is over sixty pages in length and is printed on glossy paper with numerous colored art works.
The current editor of L’Esprit is Professor Michael Mills who inherited the job from Professor John Lore when he deployed oversees a few years ago. Lore designed the current layout from scratch using Quark. He employed a student staff as an editorial board. They would choose the entries and do the layout and design.
“We often worked until midnight. The security guards had to ask us to leave,” said Lore.
Lore was responsible for four editions. He made submissions to L’Esprit a requirement of his creative writing class.
This year, Professor Mills is publishing his fourth edition of L’Esprit. It is a one- man operation that takes him about six weeks to complete. He prefers to work alone because it is faster.
“When I took over from Lore, I had a crash course in Quark. It took four attempts to get the first issue published,” said Mills.
All submissions are voluntary although Mills strongly recommends his creative writing students submit works.
“Writing is a personal private thing. There is a vulnerability to exposing yourself when writing,” said Mills. “Art though is a visual means that depends on display and an audience.”
After the March deadline, articles are reviewed over spring break. Mills selects the written works to be published and lays out the pages while still maintaining a full teaching schedule.
Sarah Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Art, has been the magazine’s coordinator of fine arts for five years. She collects the graphics, fine arts and photographs submitted for publication.
“I look for well done, well rendered art,” reports Shapiro.
Her fall semester digital photography class is required to submit their work. After reviewing art submissions for quality, and sometimes editing them so they are printable, she sends them on to Mills for the final cut.
According to Mills, there is always enough material for publication, but some years the competition is tougher and half the submissions are turned down. One reason is the college budget, and another is the poor quality of the work.
Around the middle of May, a reception is held in the Fine and Performing Arts Center Lobby. The art students talk about their published works, and the writers read their poetry or short stories.
L’Esprit began almost forty years ago to showcase “the highest quality of student, faculty, and alumnae contributions,” according to the first edition. It is still going strong thanks to the talented members of CCC and the financial support of the college.