Chimes Publishes First Multilingual Journal

Chimes cover

The first multilingual edition of student literary magazine Chimes arrived on campus this spring, a manifestation of the editors' belief that stories told in translation have the power to build greater community.

Chimes, published annually, accepts submissions of art and writing from students, faculty, and staff at the College. This year's edition includes 55 pieces, including content published separately in past years as the nonfiction student journal The Avenue. For the first time, five works are shared in a language other than English.

Danielle Cruz '25 and Julie Sims '25 were co-editors of the inaugural multilingual edition. While at least one Spanish-language piece had been submitted for last year's magazine, the editorial staff was unprepared to receive it: no submission guidelines had been established for multilingual work. Inspired and looking ahead to the next collection, the editorial team established new guidelines to make publication in Chimes possible for writers regardless of the language they use to tell their stories. The magazine would begin considering multilingual submissions when they were offered with an accompanying translation created by the author themselves or in partnership with another Saint Mary’s student.

"I like what Julie has written in our editor's note right now," Cruz says of her collaborator's explanation of the magazine's broader submission guidelines. "Regardless of what your language is, what your background is, there is a way for us to communicate across literature. And while we have to do it through translations, and sometimes our translations fail, there is a possibility for more campus community—especially global community—with it."

Cruz said the magazine received 120 written submissions for this year's edition. Of that total, 10 were offered in languages other than English; many were in Spanish, but the editors also received works for consideration in Chinese, Portuguese, and French. Students celebrated the issue's release with a launch party and reading open to the Saint Mary's community on April 24.

Co-editor Sims transferred to Saint Mary's from a small college in California last year. Like Cruz, she is an English literature and creative writing major and quick to acknowledge the importance language has for her. Sims says it was growing up in a multilingual household that showed her most clearly the barriers language can create.

"Language is our key tool for connections. It is how we connect with people," Sims says. " That's what I'm hoping people will get out of this issue. We've seen so many times when language has been used as the opposite of that, and has been used to divide and separate people." 

A conversation between Chimes faculty advisor Assistant Professor Yelizaveta Renfro and Associate Professor Sarah Noonan, the faculty member leading work in support of Saint Mary's new Digital and Public Humanities minor, was the starting point for the editors' imagining for the next stage of the magazine's evolution. When Noonan learned from Renfro that there was no digital presence for the literary magazine, she recommended the group explore the possibility of creating one. Cruz and Sims say this will be their next work together.

"We're thinking of trying to build a website over the summer and see if we can start publishing works online to broaden the works we can share and who can access them—not just the Saint Mary's community," Sims says.

In the meantime, Sims hopes that Chimes' work to include more diverse voices encourages other students to innovate. 

"I hope Saint Mary's students are going to continue pushing boundaries," she says. "I'm hoping someone's going to see what we have and be like, but what else can we do? That's something I love about going to this school; everyone is so creative, and you can get so much inspiration by being on this campus." 

April 30, 2024

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