Alex Desiré-Tesar (BAH ’12) has been named the fifth King’s graduate to work as an intern at the New York-published magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly. He takes up his post in September.
Much admired for his eloquent and sublimely funny valedictory address at Encaenia in May this year, Alex tells the story of how he obtained the internship with similar aplomb:
"As with all such stories, there are two versions as to how the topic of an internship came up between Mr. Lapham and I. The abridged, and somewhat untrue version, is that I spoke to him after the ceremony and he offered me a position on the strength of my valedictory address.
"The actual story is somewhat more complicated. Firstly, the idea of getting an internship at Lapham’s Quarterly was still an inchoate fantasy on the day of graduation. I had only just realized, actually, that Mr. Lapham was receiving an honorary doctorate, and wasn’t aware he was giving the commencement speech until we were already in the church. Thus my delight at having a chance to meet him quickly gave way to the terror of having to follow him. But yes, the extent of my "plan" to get an internship there was an offhand joke to my friend about that very possibility. Let me be clear: the opportunity to work there was a consummation devoutly to be wished. It was just that I had not really begun to seriously entertain such an extravagant idea.
"After the ceremony, I went outside and found Mr. Lapham to congratulate him on his speech. He gave me a little smile and said gruffly, "Yours was better." Obviously, I was almost physically incapable of receiving this kind of compliment from someone like him, so I thanked him and quickly left before I sustained abrupt organ failure. His words had both given me hope and rendered me utterly useless. Kicking myself for not asking about the internship, the possibility of which had only just become tangible, I began to formulate an impossible plan. In my head, I was going to his book signing the next day with a bottle of champagne, and after getting my copy of the latest issue, I would pour a couple glasses as I casually mentioned my interest in the publication.
"Needless to say, the bacchanalia of graduation intervened, and I woke up the next day an hour after the book signing had ended.
"Feeling somewhat sorry for myself for a variety of reasons, I went to lunch with my family. They had gone to Atlantic News that morning and brought me a signed copy of the latest issue, "Means of Communication". The inscription said: "To Alexander Desire-Tesar – Great Speech". My dad then said off-hand that, when he got it signed, he mentioned to Mr. Lapham that I had been the valedictorian–and also that I was potentially interested in an internship. He apparently replied that, if I was serious, to give him a call.
"And that’s just about everything that happened!"
Alex expects to be copy-editing and helping to curate the selection of writings for the next issue of Lapham’s Quarterly, "which is the bit I’m especially looking forward to," says Alex.
The other King’s graduates who have worked as interns at Lapham’s Quarterly are:
Eli Burnstein (BAH ’09)
Mark Dance (BAH ’10)
Moira Donovan (BAH ’10)
Tomas Hachard (BAH ’09)