Courtesy of the Wellness Center As we reminisce on our childhood, the thought of LEGOs comes to mind. The classic Danish toy has had an effect on the lives of children everywhere, allowing them to build whatever their tiny hearts may desire through interlocking plastic blocks. As a more hands-on approach, LaGuardia Community College’s Wellness […]
On Tuesday, May 24, the Student Literary Forum was hosted by the Writing and Literature, and Creative Writing Committees, along with the people who made it possible, President Gail O. Mellow, Professor Carrie Connors, the English Department Chair Dr. Gordon Tapper, the Administrative staff of the English Department, students who submitted, the judges, and the Literary LaGuardia interns.
The Student Literary Forum was one of the things to look forward to in the Spring Semester. This event was an opportunity for student to share their writing with each other and the community. If you are a creative or non-fiction writer, you can enter and win prizes. If you have poetry, essays or short stories, or even analytical papers, you can submit them. The winners of the Student Literary Forum are going to be included in the next issue of Literary LaGuardia.
The event started off with Professor Lucy McNair, who is also the co-chair of the English Department’s Creative Writing Committee, talking about Literary LaGuardia, the college’s literary magazine. Literary LaGuardia started off in the 1980’s and was originally called “BRAINSTORM.” Run by Professor Tom Fink, the torch was given to Professor Stafford Gregoire, with the last issue run by Professor Carrie Conners. Now Professor McNair has been passed the torch, and her interns have been working on the next issue of Literary LaGuardia, renamed “The Lit.”
The Literary LaGuardia Magazine class is the class you take if you want to help create the magazine. It is an internship class and is accredited. The magazine is created in the Spring Semester by interns who take the class. In my case it was ENG 288.
The magazine will be distributed in the Fall Semester. The Lit has four groups that eager interns can be a part of: research, outreach, design and editing. The Lit takes all types of writing, poems, short stories, art, photographs, everything. In the future Professor McNair hopes that there will be a digital version, and will try to persuade New Media students to design the magazine. They will still be working with the art and theater groups.
The first student up to the stand at the Literary Forum was Kimberly Morales, a poet from Brooklyn, with her poem, “He yt or BLCK – a cleaveland remix,” which won the Creative Writing Contest poetry section. She started by pointing out that there was an extra “e” in her name, which she found funny. Then she talked about, why she picked the name for the poem. She says that on the Internet, young colored kids spell white “yt,” and she liked it. The inspiration for this poem came from the case of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old African American boy who was shot by two cops who were later found not guilty.
The second student up to the stand was Sarah Seron, with her essay “Richard Rodriguez’s Chapter ‘Complexion’ in Hunger of Memory as a Process of Differentiating Between His Two Opposing Identities.” She won the Creative Writing Contest essay section. She started by telling us about her essay, on Richard Rodriguez’s autobiography about having to live in the English world as a Hispanic, saying, “Richard Rodriguez believes that in order to completely assimilate into another language, culture and world, you have to have to abandon your previous culture.”
The third student to take the stand was Kzinga Adewole-Jimenez, who won the Creative Writing Contest fiction section. Her story, “Allegiance,” takes place in a dream sequence of a young girl who never got the chance to meet her mother, but has dreams about her where she tries to imagine how her mother would have been like. Kzinga, found it interesting to put play and emphasis on this story.
After Ms. Adewole-Jimenez we went on break. For some entertainment, Sanchez Fernandes played Guitar, and Shaliana was on vocals. They sang a few songs. Then Sanchez decided to go solo, and even went overtime.
After break, it was Literary LaGuardia’s time to shine. The magazine staff officially announced that the name of the magazine is going to be “The Lit.” Afterwards some of the staff shared their experiences with us working on The Lit.
Brent Thomas, head editor, went first. “First and foremost, I just want to thank the winners of the 2016 Creative Writing competition for sharing your work with us. It was a journey reading all of your creations, when we can’t stop talking about the mysterious characters like Nina in Allegiance or poetry describing a murder of an innocent boy of color by Kimberly Morales, that is when we, the staff of the Lit, come together as a whole to discuss the pieces that have somehow impacted our minds.”
Carolina Varela, the art editor, said, “it was a pleasure hanging out and working with people, and I really appreciate the participation of everyone who submitted to the magazine and inspired us, and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here.”
Professor McNair described the magazine as, “a fantastic tool for collaborative, experiential learning. People like to learn by doing, and seeing other people do things. It also showcases the creativity of all students in a meaningful way.”
That is also the whole reason behind the Student Literary Forum: to showcase the writing talents of students at LAGCC. I asked Professor McNair what she wants her audience to get from reading or picking up this magazine. She replied, “I want our readers to sense in their bones how focused we’ve been, and how much creative energy there is on campus. I also want them to feel the vibe of this campus, the feeling of being here with the tremendous mix of cultures and perspectives. I hope The Lit can be a way of capturing the rich variety of stories and critical observation flowing through these halls and classrooms.”
After that, it was Forrest Crellin’s turn, who won the Creative Non Fiction award for his poem, “A Still frame of a Desk in Queens.” He started off by saying what inspired him to write this: “If you guys ever have been hitching hiking you meet some very interesting people on the road. I wrote it when I got a desk, because I didn’t have a desk for four years.”
The Student Literary Forum ended with congrats to the winners, and goodbyes. Some very talented writers presented, a magazine was brought back, and everyone who attended left with a new look on life.
Special thanks were given to head editor Brent Thomas, poetry editor Bernardo Torres, art editor Carolina Varela, outreach ambassadors Daquan Gabbidon aka “Tree” and Yenick Gonzales, magazine coordinators Lucy McNair and Joy Sanchez-Taylor.