What is Bartleby?
Bartleby is the Creative Arts Journal of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It is entirely student-produced, and all works in Bartleby are created by UMBC students.
I know that. But what is Bartleby?
Oooh! The name Bartleby. Well, that’s simple. Bartleby is the main character of Herman Melville’s short story Bartleby, The Scrivener. Long story short, Bartleby is a copyist who, when asked to do anything other than copy, simply says, “I would prefer not to.” He gives no reason, and his boss is so fascinated by this that he does not fire Bartleby. Why name the journal after him? No, it’s not that we’re lazy people who don’t want to do anything other than copy. Like Melville’s Bartleby, the students whose work appears in the journal refuse to conform and do not fear rejection of others.
How do I get stuff put in Bartleby?
First, you must currently be a UMBC student. We accept submissions from both graduate and undergraduate students. But if you are an alumni or a member of faculty, you cannot submit to us. Bartleby staff are allowed to submit, and their submissions are reviewed anonymously like everyone else, but they cannot win the monetary reward. For more specific submission guidelines & restrictions, check out the Submissions page.
What kinds of work do you accept?
Bartleby works are divided into four categories. There’s poetry–y’know, like Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot. Then there’s fiction, like the made-up short stories you might read in an English class. There’s also creative non-fiction, which includes essays and short stories based on fact and real occurrences. Finally, there’s visual art, which you should remember from the elementary school class of the same name.
How do increase my chances of getting in Bartleby?
First, make sure you send us polished work. If it’s difficult to read your piece, due to poor grammar or poor story structure, reviewers will remember it as a chore rather than a work of art. It also helps to submit short poems and stories. It isn’t unusual to have room for an extra story or poem if it can fit on a page or a half of a page, so sending us short pieces, in addition to your lengthier titles, makes you eligible for any extra space we find. You can also try to send in funnier, lighter titles. We often get a boat load of tragedies, especially in fiction, and we tend to try and select pieces for their quality and the variety they bring to the journal. So, sending us something amusing makes your piece more likely to get in.
Can I submit any work anonymously?
When you submit to us, you have to tell us your real name and contact information, so that we can verify your status as a UMBC student and potentially offer you a cash prize. However, should your piece be selected for inclusion in the journal, you may request that your piece be published under a pen name or as anonymous.
When does the next issue come out? Where can I pick up a copy?
Bartleby comes out every spring, usually in April or May. You can pick up a copy in the English Department, which is on the 4th floor of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, but the staff tries to keep the journal available all over campus, including in the Commons and the library.
When can I submit?
Keep an eye out for the Bartleby submission deadlines each fall semester. Typically, the date is December 1st, but this is subject to change. We welcome early submissions in spring, outside of our usual submission season in fall. For more info, go to Submissions and look at Early (Spring) Submissions.
I submitted something and I haven’t heard anything back. Did you forget about me? 🙁
Of course not! However, we will only get in contact with you if we’ve selected your piece for the journal. You’ll receive an email by the end of February if your piece was selected for inclusion in the journal, but we only send congratulatory emails, not rejections. So, if you haven’t heard from us by March 1st, accept that you have not made it into the journal this year, but that we would love for you to try again next year.
If you accept my work, are you going to change anything before putting it in Bartleby?
Possibly, but not without your permission. If we accept your work and we want to edit it in any way whatsoever, we’ll ask you if it’s okay first. But if you say it’s not okay, then we reserve the right to reject your work as a result.
Wow. This all sounds like fun! Can I work for Bartleby?
Hard-working UMBC undergraduates of all majors are welcome to join the Bartleby staff. For more information, read the Get Involved! page.
I love Bartleby so much. Can I give you money?
Aww, you’re so sweet. Anyway, Bartleby is a non-profit organization, so donations are welcome. Production costs rise every year, so we need all the financial help we can get. Please visit the Support page for more information!