‘Touchstones,’ ‘Warp & Weave’ and ‘Essais’ set for release

Reading Time: 4 minutes

They are publications by students, of students and for students. Every semester, the English department publishes three publications that showcase the artistic and literary talent of students. While the three journals are each unique when it comes to what work they publish, the one thing that unites them is the fact they are entirely student produced.


“Warp & Weave,” one of the publications, focuses on speculative fiction. According to Darek Purcell, the Editor-in-Chief of “Warp & Weave,” the term speculative fiction is kind of vague. “We mostly print science-fiction, fantasy and horror,” Purcell said. He also said they look for works that are more literary and not just “Harry Potter or Twilight stuff.”


“Warp & Weave” was first published in 1999 as part of an English class project. Back then, it was called “Neurocraft.” The second issue was published in 2002. By 2004, the name had changed to “Warp & Weave.” Today, the publication has 16 staff members all working on various parts of the publication process. “Everyone did editing and a few worked with type-setting,” Purcell said.


This semester, the staff received 320 submissions of prose and poetry. This was also the first year they received work in the dramatic genre. Out of those 320 submissions, 12 stories and nine works of art were chosen for publication, including one drama piece.


In addition to the regular semester publication, there will also be a retrospective publication that showcases the work over the last 10 volumes of the publication. The separate publication contains 28 works of prose, poetry and art that have been previously published in various issues of Warp & Weave over the years. “I wanted to go back and show the best pieces and show it is really good work,” Purcell said. “I also wanted to do something special for the tenth volume.”


The release party for Warp & Weave is on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m. in SC 206 A&B. There will be readings from the publications, first prizes for the top three works and free food. It will also be the first chance to purchase the publications, $5 for the new publication, $5 for the retrospective issue, and $3 for old publications.


Along the same lines of creative writing, “Touchstones” publishes works of drama, prose, poetry and art of any medium. First launched in 1997 under the direction of Dr. Laura Hamblin, “Touchstones” is released every semester by a staff composed entirely of students. “Our staff is large, we have 21 staff members in various positions from tech staff to prose editor to managing editor,” said Mike Brown, Editor-in-Chief of “Touchstones.” “Many of our staff members work in various positions, some for a many hours and others for just a few hours during the semester.” In addition to these members of the staff were volunteers who helped on the reading nights, a process that helps eliminate submissions for publication.


The semester, “Touchstones” received around 300-350 submissions. Out of that, 46 pieces will be published, along with an interview with Marilynne Robinson.


According to Brown, the most challenging aspect of putting together “Touchstones” is selecting which pieces to publish. “As a group, our readers know very well what needs work and what is publishable. Unfortunately, there’s just no way we can edit and print everything our readers and art editors select,” Brown said. “I made some painful cuts this semester, things I was strongly attached to and things others couldn’t easily let go. It’s a difficult process when you’re cutting down to the bones of the publication.”


“Touchstones’s” release party, formally known as the My Word event, is set for Friday, Dec. 2 in SC 206 a&b at 7 p.m. There will be readings from selected pieces, food and displays of the artwork.


The final publication, and by far the newest, is different from the first since it publishes academic work rather than creative work. “Essais,” only in its second semester, publishes academic essays mostly in the fields of literary studies and cinema studies, though this year they have accepted pieces in political and cultural studies. The publication, advised by Dr. Charles Vogal and Professor Sandy Vogel, is also the only publication that accepts work from other universities.


This year, “Essais” receieved about 120 submissions, about half of which were from UVU while the other half were from other universities. Of those submissions, six were accepted from UVU and six were accepted from other universities for publications. The topics range from works on German author Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, Ken Kesey and a piece that combines the works of Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho” and the novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. There will also be a piece that analyzes the works of the anonymous street artist only known as Banksy.


According to Jenna Atkinson, the Editor-in-Chief of “Essais,” work on this semester’s issue started nearly as soon as last semester’s issue was printed. “We started working last March,” Atkinson said. “Though most of the brunt work was this semester.” The “Essais” staff consists of seven students, most of which are drawn to the publication because they are interested in learning about publishing. “People can come in and out and learn as much as they can,” Atkinson said.


The launch party for “Essais” is set for Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6-9 p.m. in LI 120. People will present their essays in a format that is similar to academic conferences, such as the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. “We want to give them the experience of a formal conference,” Atkinson said. Six to eight students will present their works, including some from other universities who will be flying in for the occasion. “We really hope everyone can make it,” Atkinson said.


“Warp & Weave” Launch Party

When: Wednesday, Nov. 30

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Where: SC 206 A&B


“Essais” Release Conference

When: Thursday, Dec. 1

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Where: LI 120


“Touchstones” My Word Event

When: Friday, Dec. 2

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Where SC 206 A&B


By Kelly Cannon – Life Editor

Photos courtesy of Mike Brown and Darek Purcell

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