The Phoenix: An Outlet for EMU’s Art

The Phoenix, EMU’s literary and visual arts journal, is not just a medium for students and staff to share their artistic capabilities. It’s a thermometer that displays the intensity of EMU’s creative talent.

Kevin Seidel, Language and Literature professor and advisor of The Phoenix, has been the journal’s advisor for the past five years.

During his time in this position, Seidel has seen it flourish under the leadership of Seniors Lani Prunés and Hannah Patterson, co-editors of The Phoenix.

Seidel provides logistical help and primarily corresponds with the editors via email to provide support from the shadows.

The real power behind the scenes comes from Prunés and Patterson and the staff they select to work with them.

Patterson has been an editor since her sophomore year, and Prunés since her first year.

In their four years of combined leadership, they have had the opportunity to mold the journal to their pleasing.

The opinions and viewpoints the two of them bring offset each other in a way that creates a unique feel to the literary arts journal.

Last year, according to Patterson, the final product was superb, and she expects the same this year.

Seidel remarked that Prunés and Patterson have been paramount in creating the quality product they now have. But, apart from the solid leadership, Seidel speculated that the newly formed writing major has sparked an increased literary interest in the journal.

In the production process of the Phoenix, unique to the current leadership, all submissions are anonymous in order to decrease the chance for bias in the selection process.

Each submitter is assigned a number and their submission(s) assigned a letter. Prunés and Patterson then send the categorized submissions to the other members of staff who, in turn, critique them and convene at a meeting.

At this meeting, each submission is voted on, and each member of staff assigns the given piece a number value between one and five, five being outstanding. Ones and twos are usually discarded, and the controversial selections are talked about for further consideration.

Following the selection process – roughly 18-25 literary pieces and about 20 photos and other art qualify each

year – the editing team turns to the layout portion of the process, usually a two week endeavor. From there, the journal is sent to the press.

The Phoenix is an opportunity for students to express their voice on campus, and it’s well read. Two years ago, Prunés mentioned, they had to print 600 extra copies because of increased interest in the journal.

This year, The Phoenix will be available towards the beginning of April, followed by an open mic event in Common Grounds where excerpts will be read by the authors themselves.

Patterson envisions a day when the Common Grounds reading will be accompanied by a show of The Phoenix’s best pieces in the Margaret M. Gehman Art Gallery.

-Chris Yoder, Staff Writer


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