Touchstones is a creative writing publication funded by the English department. Released twice a year, Touchstones publishes prose, poetry and visual art submitted by students. English major Meggie Woodfield, the current Editor-in-Chief, has been working with Touchstones in an editing capacity for two and a half years, nearly five publications.
One of the biggest challenges for Woodfield this year has been the difficulty of fitting in enough time for Touchstones while still maintaining the rest of her life.
“Working on Touchstones is an amazing experience and will absolutely help you in the long run, whether you are going to graduate school or finding a job,” Woodfield said. “But in the end it is still volunteer work.”
Besides being a full-time student, Woodfield also works full time at Symantec, a software company, as a technical communicator.
Woodfield, who will be graduating at the end of this semester, was assisted by her two managing editors, Michael Brown and Roarke Stone.
Brown, a junior originally from Oregon, recently switched from a Business major to an English Literature major. It was while he was in an American Literature class in the fall of 2010 that he met Woodfield handing out flyers, recruiting students to work on Touchstones.
“It seemed like something I could really get involved with and really like,” Brown said.
Brown, who is planning on graduating in the spring of 2012, didn’t have any publishing experience before working on Touchstones.
“Meggie has a lot of experience. She knows where to go and how to do things,” Brown said. “If Roarke or I don’t know how to do something, Meggie knows how to do it or who to talk to.”
In each publication, awards are given for the best prose, poetry and visual art. This publication’s winners include Darek Purcell for his prose piece “A Character Sketch,” Emma Hunt Samudio for her poem “Home Economics” and Larissa Norman for her painting “Morning Routine.” Norman’s piece is also the cover art for this semester’s publication.
Touchstones will be released at the My Word event on Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m. in SC 206 A and B.
Essais is a brand new publication, with its first edition being released this Thursday, April 14. Rather than featuring creative writing and artistic expression, Essais is an academic publication, showcasing papers based upon works of literature and film.
Jenna Atkinson, an English Literature major from Salem, Utah, is not only the Co-Editor-in-Chief, but also the journal’s founder.
Atkinson approached Dr. Deb Thornton and pitched the idea of an academic student journal. Thornton loved the idea and the two set about making it happen. They, along with Atkinson’s Co-Editor-in-Chief Rachel Leavitt, received 72 submissions, ranging in topics from John Milton’s Paradise Lost to Ralph Waldo Emerson and American transcendental poetry, as well as two submissions that discuss topics within the field of Cinema Studies.
While Leavitt, an English Literature/Pre-Med major, had experience working as Editor-in-Chief of Warp and Weave last semester, it was Atkinson’s first time working on a publication of any kind. However, both encountered obstacles that are unique to an academic journal.
“An academic is so different from a creative journal because you have to check all of the sources each submission cites,” Atkinson said.
“It was terrible,” Leavitt said. “We had to go into Google Books to check sources. We’d bring our own copies of books to readapt the citation. We even had to wait a month for a book on interlibrary loan.”
While most submissions included a works cited page that followed the current MLA citation guide, others were not current or absent all together.
“We planned for two days to check sources,” Atkinson said. “But it took us three weeks, four to eight hours a day with three student volunteers and three editors.”
Atkinson and her staff have learned from this obstacle and are planning on a different submission format for next semester.
“Next semester, submissions will have to include a works cited page in the current MLA format,” Leavitt said. “After they’re accepted, they’ll have to provide their sources, or at least point us in the right direction.”
Essais will be released on Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. in LI 120.
Representatives from Warp and Weave could not be reached by the time of publication. Warp and Weave will be released on Wednesday, April 13 at 6:00 p.m. in SC 206 A and B.
In the interest of journalistic discretion, UVU Review would like to state that the poetry winner for Touchstones, Emma Hunt Samudio, is our Managing Editor.