Through the ‘Cellar Door’

SUNY New Paltz writers and artists have a place to share their work with their peers thanks to the editors of Cellar Door, the college’s literary and art magazine.

The magazine’s Editorial-board came together in fall 2009. Editor-in-Chief Emma Nichols, Art Editor Jenny Curtis and English Editor and Public Relations Contact James Warren said that since then, editorial members have sorted through various written and artistic submissions to be published in the magazine.

The three members met during an English course as first-year students and became friends. Nichols said the group wanted to start a literary magazine after Exit 18 was no longer being published. The inspiration behind the name came from |the movie “Donnie Darko.”

Curtis said originally they had a very hard time coming up with a name for the publication. One day while discussing ideas, the phrase “cellar door,” which was uttered by an English teacher to the main character in the movie, was brought up. The three loved the name and made it the official title of their new magazine.

Nichols said she believes Cellar Door brings another opportunity for the creativity of students to get out and be heard.

“It’s a great outlet,” she said.

Curtis and Nichols are looking for anything and everything to publish. From poetry to short stories to drawings, doodles, cartoons, photographs and paintings.

“We are hoping to get more art submissions. We don’t get enough of those,” said Curtis.

During the meetings, submissions are read aloud and discussed among the staff. If they decide to include them in the issue, they are put into a “yes” pile and the ones they are unsure of go into a “maybe” pile.

The final layout process takes place towards the end of the semester. Curtis, Nichols and Warren make their final picks and design the layout of the issue in the Adobe InDesign program.

Nichols said the hardest part of running the magazine is getting the word out and getting in an assortment of submissions.

“What’s difficult is gathering a wide variety of submissions from a wide variety of the student body because we’re a newer publication and not only might they not know about us, but they might not consider us as important as say, Stonesthrow Review,” she said.

An event at the end of April or the beginning of May will take place to distribute free copies of the magazine. It is published once at the end of the semester. If students want a copy of the magazine, they should e-mail Cellar Door for a copy of the publication to be sent to them.

Currently, a website is being designed  for the magazine by Vinny Carnevale, a second-year radio and television production major. Students will be able to submit their work online and view past issues.

The editors said they are hoping to have the issues published in color by the end of the semester thanks to a new printing process. All of the past issues have been printed in black and white with the exception of the cover.

Cellar Door meets every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Student Union 402. Anyone interested in submitting their work can e-mail editors at or visit their Facebook page for more