A fresh mind and pair of eyes now oversees Dixie State University’s two literary journals, aiming to inspire students, faculty, staff and community members to create and be published.
Cindy King, assistant professor of English, is the faculty editor and advisor for The Southern Quill, DSU’s yearly printed literary journal and online-only literary journal, The Route 7 Review.
The journals accept submissions from students, young writers, faculty, staff and community members and publishes creative work ranging from nonfiction, to poetry, to visual art. King is wrapping up her first semester teaching at DSU and said she is looking forward to improving the journals.
With a background in putting together literary journals at other universities, King said many hours of work go into curating them and described it as a labor of love. She is invested in growing the journals and has a vision for where they are headed. Excitement filled her voice as she described what it’s like to facilitate publishing writers for the first time.
“I love the idea that we’re discovering writers,” King said.
Bailee Christiansen, a senior English major from St. George, is the managing editor at The Southern Quill. Her involvement began four years ago and has held several different positions every year since. The journals provide an effective way to connect the community, she said.
“It gives an opportunity for people to express themselves creatively and bring the community together through writing and visual art,” Christiansen said. “It’s something you don’t get to see through everyday publications.”
Although the English department has been supportive, one challenge so far is finding more revenue to elevate and grow the journals, King said. A silent auction and reading will be held Feb. 16 to raise money for The Southern Quill. King hopes as time goes on, the Route7Review will be able to accept more international submissions, and The Southern Quill can transform from a yearly publication to bi-yearly.
Randy Jasmine, associate professor of English, said he has been following The Southern Quill for the 12 years he has worked at DSU.
“I like the fact that it’s local people,” Jasmine said. “[Many pieces] have themes related to the geographical area.”
Another bonus of attending the readings is hearing the writers read their own work, Jasmine said. Writers will sometimes give a little context before the reading, meaning is added to the piece when they read it aloud.
“The way they read it sometimes emphasizes certain things you might not have noticed just reading it,” he said.
In addition to submitting work, King said students of all different majors are encouraged to get involved producing the journals as volunteers or signing up for the class. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to get real world, hands-on experience, she said.
Words on paper and screen
Although King does other forms of writing, she specializes in poetry. She said poetry is different than other writing styles because it’s the most condensed and concise way of communicating. For both the reader and writer, it offers instant gratification without investing too much time and energy, she said.
“You can hold a poem in the palm of your hand and control what’s there on the page,” King said. “You can see it all at once.”
Regarding her work, King said people have mentioned she has a way of addressing serious things in playful ways. Mothers, family and women’s issues are recurring themes in King’s writing, which she said is interesting because she isn’t a mother.
Christiansen said she hasn’t had much time for creative projects due to working on her senior capstone, but she is aware of the importance of creative writing. Expressing thoughts through verbal communication can be hard and it’s easier to get everything out, clearly and concisely, in writing, she said.
“The ability to express yourself through writing is important because it allows you to bridge those gaps,” Christiansen said.
King said although she’s been writing most of her life, she didn’t have many opportunities in college to have her work published, partially because online literary journals weren’t a thing yet. She remembers the first time her work was published by a journal, and herself being incredibly excited. King said she hopes the journals can provide a venue for others to experience the same.
“When you get something published, it gives you acknowledgment that what you’re doing is something people want to read,” she said.
Christiansen said first time submitters shouldn’t be worried about their work being perfect because The Southern Quill staff works with the writers on editing. A lot of opportunities come through being published, she said.
“There’s nothing more incredible than having your work be recognized,” Christiansen said. “It’s a great way to validate yourself.”
Those interested in submitting work to The Southern Quill can find more information on southernquill.submittable.com.
Visit route7review.com for more information on submitting to the Route7Review.