Students collaborate to create
award-winning literary and arts journal
By Lauren Daly '11
The Aonian literary and visual arts magazine is one of
many creative outlets for Hendrix students. Student editors and staff have
created an award-winning publication, including a first-place finish in the 2012
Southern Literary Festival Student Writing Contest. The magazine won second
place in 2011, and students are hopeful for a first-place prize again this year.
Growing interest in the magazine has increased staff applications and
submissions, more recently in the areas of photography and visual arts after the
addition of woodcutting and printing courses taught by art professor Melissa
Gill in 2009.
The audience for the magazine's annual release and reading has
also increased to a point where staff members are looking to move the reception
to a larger space.
The magazine's biggest success has been the campus's
increased attention for the arts on campus, according to Hanna Al-Jibouri '12,
last year's editor-in-chief.
The Aonian's success is due, in part, to the
support from the English and art faculty and the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation
"whose support of the creative writing program has allowed so many of our
students to meet with writers, attend workshops, and create a lively and engaged
community of writers," said creative writing professor Dr. Tyrone Jaeger, the
magazine's faculty advisor.
"Programs such as Word Garden, the student
reading series, and the on-campus support work in tandem to enhance and improve
the creation of our literary magazine," he added.
organization assembles each year to create their original publication, which is
funded by the Student Senate. The staff mulls over the submissions in the
categories of prose, literary hybrids, photography, visual arts, and poetry to
choose their semi-finalists. Once they have been chosen, the submissions are
sent to professional judges who choose first-, second-, and third-place winners.
The staff compiles the magazine, designing a bound book. On Honors Day, they
award prizes, funded by Hendrix-Murphy, to the winners, reveal their creation,
and distribute the magazine to the Hendrix community at a reading reception.
The first reading reception occurred in 1996 when editor-in-chief Kristen
Hopkins Albertson '96 decided to have a party to reveal the publication. Since
then, the reception has been funded by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in
Literature and Language.
Also that year, the staff voted to change the
magazine's name from the Potpourri, its title since the 1960s, to the Aonian.
Being a peer-run publication, the magazine is successful because the
editor-in-chief and faculty sponsor help to guide and support the staff. In
2009, when Joseph Hayden '10 was editor, the college's creative writing program
was growing rapidly, and student submissions were changing. Because of this,
Haydn and faculty sponsor Tyrone Jaeger, amended the submission categories. They
combined the former categories of fiction and non-fiction into the current prose
category and added the literary hybrids category.
In 2010, editor-in-chief
Colleen Mayo '11 began offering literary and art workshops to prepare the
staff for viewing, reading, and critiquing student submissions. The workshops
help the staff grow more cohesive and enable them to work more as a team.
This year's workshops will be led by professors Dr. Tyrone Jaeger (fiction),
Hope Coulter (poetry), Dr. Marianne Tettlebaum (aesthetics), Melissa Gill
(visual arts), and Maxine Payne (photography).
To increase the magazine's
credibility and strength, the editors have sought more seasoned and experienced
staff members as well as a balance between visual arts and creative writing
members. These changes have not only allowed for submissions to receive more
helpful and educated critiques but also changed the publication's feel from
strictly narrative to a balance between the different artistic domains.
While experienced writers and artists are critical to the creation of a
successful magazine, the more practiced students submit a vast majority of the
publication's pieces. Because of this monopoly, Haydn and his staff limited the
number of pieces a person may submit to five per category.
editor-in-chief Julia Lee McGill '14 and associate editor Alli Dillard '14 are
busy working to create this year's Aonian, which will be released on Honors Day,
April 25, 2013, at the Aonian/Murphy Programs Literary Contest Winners'
Reception and Reading in the Murphy Seminar Room.
Lauren Daly '11 is a
Presidential Fellow for the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and