English department’s literary journals are up and running

Upon first glance room SC 213B look like an enormous peer review pow-wow. UVU students of all ages sit huddled around tables quietly scanning and shuffling papers; this is the reading portion of Touchstones’ reading night.

 

“Touchstones”, is the longest running of the three literary journals emerging from UVU. These journals, “Touchstones”, “Warp and Weave” and “Essais,” each unique in their content, collect written and visual works each semester to be compiled into roughly 300 pages of the best creative work available.

 

With each issue, “Touchstones” receives a wide range of creative submissions including 10-minute dramas, short stories, art including photography, and poetry. Every submission is the product of a student. On Friday Sept. 30, students gathered to read and rate the submissions, casting votes to decide which of 250 potentials will make it into the publication.

 

This is only one small step in the Herculean task of creating a professional level literary journal. Behind each issue is a team of qualified student editors, readers, designers and of course submitting writers who work tirelessly to compile the books by the end of each semester.

 

It’s not all grueling work though, editor Lorna Larsen explains how beneficial a place on the staff can be, describing it as, “a great learning experience…anyone interested in getting their work published and learning to improve their writing.” Students interested in  joining the team  contact touchstones.journal@gmail.com.

 

“Touchstones’” staff isn’t the only one hard at work this semester. In fact, Mike Brown, “Touchstones” editor explains that the three journals have been, “really working together and helping each other out.” Enter “Touchstones’” sibling journals:

 

The brainchild of founder and current editor-in-chief, Jenna Atkinson, “Essais” can still be considered a newborn, having published its first issue in May.

 

Don’t confuse age for maturity however, even as its first issue “Essais” received over 100 submissions from students around the country and, in the case of two submissions from India, around the world.

 

“Essais” is the campus’s premiere essay journal, featuring literary, critical theory and cinema study essays. Submitting to “Essais” is a great opportunity available to any under-graduate student, but Jenna Atkinson explains the benefits of going a step further and becoming part of the “Essais” staff.

 

“The very most basic student at UVU can get involved just to get involved in something, which will, statistically, lead to a more successful academic career,” Atkinson said.

 

Students interested in staff opportunities can email essais.uvu@gmail.com.

 

What began as a cardboard covered, spiral bound class project in 1999 has now become the campus’s professional speculative fiction journal, “Warp and Weave.”

 

Featuring both written and visual works of speculative fiction, think horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, “Warp and Weave” includes reality-bending short stories, poetry, and art. It picks its pages from submissions supplied by a range of writers and artist of all ages, from students and faculty, to local high school students and last semester, even a professor from Bolivia.

 

“Warp and Weave” is carefully compiled under Editor-in-Chief, Darek Purcell, who promises exciting things in the journal’s future, beginning in December. “To commemorate the 10th volume and the huge strides “Warp and Weave” has taken in the last few issues, we’re planning on printing a second, special edition journal this semester,” Purcell said.  “It will be a retrospective issue, reprinting some of the best writing and artwork we’ve received over the last eleven years the journal has been in existence.”

 

In addition to the growth “Warp and Weave” has made in the past few years Purcell assures readers, “we’re not stopping here. My staff and I have big plans for our once-little journal.”

 

This excitement isn’t limited to patron personnel however. “Warp and Weave” is always looking for staff and submitters, positions that Purcell promises come with their own perks.

 

“Anyone can write speculative fiction, and we offer the opportunity to get published, or to learn what goes into the publication process for journals or books,” Purcell said. “But, like “Touchstones”, our process isn’t limited to editing and proofreading, but extends into event planning, advertising, design, and layout work.”

 

Students interested in taking advantage of these opportunities should check out qualifications at warpandweave.net.

 

These literary journals are the perfect place to collaborate with experienced writers and editors, gain knowledge and experience in the field of publishing, and even whave their own work showcased. Ben Blanchette, a self-proclaimed “closet writer” and “Warp and Weave” staff member, sums it up best. “we want everyone, no matter how badly their stories suck, to give it a try and see what happens,” Blanchette said.

 

By NICOLA PRITCHETT
Life Writer

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