The Exodus of the Quarto Staff! And! 4×4, Their Promised Magazine!

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So: on Sept. 21, the (former) co-editors of Quarto sent out an email blast announcing two things: (a) Quarto was”currently on hold”, and (b) a new magazine called 4×4, “a literary project from the editors of Quarto,” was starting.

Curious, Bwog met with Aliza Polkes and Sarina Bhandari, former Quarto co-editors and current 4×4 co-editors.

Here’s what’s the same: the new magazine will have the same editors and the same staff. It will seek the same sort of writing, and judge it with the same blind selection process.

Here’s what’s not: the new magazine is not affiliated with the Creative Writing department, meaning it has no official recognition and no money.

So what happened? Aliza and Sarina said that, basically, the CW admin thought Quarto was getting too undergrad-y and not CW-y enough. So the dept. took back what always belonged to it; Quarto would now only be for CW majors (and GS). This meant that Sarina and Aliza, non-majors themselves, were out in the cold. And the whole staff went with them.

Quarto will still exist; but submissions will not be judged blindly by students. Rather, they’ll be reviewed by students picked for a class by professors and departmental personages, such as Dorla McIntosh (who did not reply to an email for comment). Quarto will probably be a class.

Apparently, Quarto-that-was was totally student run. And the last board had a bad relationship/very little communication with the holders of the purse-strings. So last semester, Dorla vaguely told Sarina and Aliza that Quarto was “on hold.” Two days ago, Dorla told them how the magazine would work from now on (without them).

“We’re miffed,” said Sarina. “To be honest, it hurt,” said Aliza.

Not that the two seemed bitter, like old Bwog would be. Rather, they explained to Bwog, with aequo animo, how they were going to start a magazine from scratch (despite last semester making a new website, and jumping through all the hoops to ABC recognition—only to have the department make them turn it down).

They’re going to be hitting three sources for money: some sort of Kickstarters, a Gatsby Grant, and parents. Their budget won’t be as flush as it was before: their magazine probably won’t have a dust jacket or be printed on the quality paper Quarto-that-was readers know. But it’ll “still look nice”—they have the same design team. And 4×4 will do what Quarto-that-was did: host a lot of readings &c., so as to keep together the community they say grew around Quarto-that-was.

So it’s weird! You’ve got something old, which needs a 100% new staff. And you’ve got something new, with a 100% old staff!

4×4‘s first open mic will be this Saturday, from 8-10 pm, in 501 Dodge Hall. Also: note that, since Dorla has yet to get back to Bwog, this is all from the jilted co-editors.

4×4 logo from their email blast

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  1. Firshman  

    So how do I get involved in 4x4? I missed their table at the activities fair which I'd a huge bummer!

    • Victoria  

      Sorry to miss you at the fair! Feel free to contact Aliza Polkes ( and/or Sarina Bhandari ( for more info. Applications for e-board will be available in the coming weeks.

  2. Firshman  

    @Firshman: *is a huge bummer

  3. CC(CW)'13  

    good luck getting a response from dorla. she can be curt for no reason.

  4. Anonymous  

    Finally, Bwog covers something and does a good job. It's been too long.

  5. Anonymous

    "Quarto would now only be for CW majors (and GS)."

    Why the appending of "and gs"?

    • Anonymous

      @Anonymous: A huge portion of the CW department is GS students, and from what I understand, part of the reason for the split was to make Quarto more representative of the department, by including more GS people. This is (I suppose?) easier when it's held during a class time when commuter GS people are on campus anyways.

      • Anonymous

        It's a bit redundant to say "And GS"; if you're an undergraduate creative writing major, it already implies you're either CC, GS, or Barnard.

        Also, saying "Creative Writing Majors (and GS)" might be (mis)construed as"creative writing majors and all of GS"

  6. huh  

    4×4‘s first open mic will be on Sept. 8, from 8-10 pm, in 501 Dodge Hall.

  7. 4x4  

    Email to get put on the listserv and find out about applications, submissions, and events!

    Our first open mic is this Saturday, Sep. 28, from 8-10pm in 501 Dodge.

  8. Love u guys! So excited to see another mag join the publications world.

  9. sylvia vt calabrese

    As a CW major and GS grad, I can offer that GSers are continually subjected to the slings and arrows, if not the outright animosity, of CC students convinced we have no right to be on campus because we are viewed as too old and as having gained admission by taking an ends around route into Columbia. The fact that GS students have the highest GPAs on campus and that most professors prefer serious and well-rounded GS students to the astoundingly under-read and bratty CC ones, is not news. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the university is distancing itself from 4x4, Quarto, or any undergrad magazine that hides behind its masthead in order to discriminate against GS students, both as contributors and in editorial positions.

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