New literary magazine to showcase writing talent
For people interested in literature and art, an engineering school is, perhaps, an unlikely place to create a magazine devoted to student poetry and prose.
Robert Pinsky, an award-winning American poet, told a crowd at Kettering last year that creative writing and poetry are technologies "for memory and speed." At Kettering, one Liberal Studies professor and a group of students are taking Pinsky's theory to heart.
For people interested in literature and art, an engineering school is, perhaps, an unlikely place to create a magazine devoted to student poetry and prose. With approximately 12 to 16 credits of coursework and labs in engineering, science and humanities classes to complete during an 11-week term, students at Kettering find little time to eat and sleep, let alone quiet moments to compose their thoughts and feelings using paper and pen in an artistic and creative fashion.
But if one were to agree with American author Tim O'Brien's essay "The Magic Show," it seems logical that the process of imaginative knowing "does not depend on scientific method." For O'Brien and others like him, fictional characters are not "constructed of flesh and blood, but rather of words, and those words serve as explicit incantations that invite us into and guide us through the universe of the imagination."
Thus, literature and art operate on a slightly different plain than scientific activity, which is based on the tangible results of experiments and other forms of methodological inquiry. But the imagination is an entity of the ethereal sense like fog on a lakeshore at sunrise, something that cannot be measured with scientific instruments. In O'Brien's opinion, everyone should take time to experience the imaginary existence of individuals through the lush language and imagery of stories, poems and artwork as a means of learning something new about our humanity.
Maybe that's why the discovery of young people who write creatively while pursuing engineering and management was enough of a pleasant surprise to comport Corine Coniglio, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, to ask students in her fall 2001 Hum. 201: Introduction to Humanities class if they would be interested in creating a literary magazine as a class project. Soon after her arrival in the summer of 2001, students approached her about the poetry and prose that they write in their free time. It was enough encouragement for Coniglio to pursue the creation of "Mythical Verses," Kettering's first literary magazine in many years.
"We have many closet writers and artists on campus," she explained, "Perhaps more than anyone realizes."
Coniglio, who comes to Kettering from Lackawanna College in Scranton, Penn., brings of wealth of experience in the creation of student literary journals. She holds a Ph.D. in American Literature and as a faculty member at Lackawanna, served as adviser for the school's literary magazine "Collage." Admittedly, however, when she received her appointment to Kettering in 2001, she realized that many students at the University may not have much desire or time to pursue creative writing and the arts, based on their particular fields of study and the time necessary to engage in a Kettering education. But this fact did not sway her desire to at least seek out those students who might express an interest in this kind of artistic expression.
The rationale for implementing this magazine as a project was simple in her mind. Since Kettering students are often pressed for time to engage fully in extra-curricular activities, establishing a literary magazine as a class project offers them some tangible reward for their hard work and creative efforts. Additionally, Coniglio believes this sort of activity also makes students "accountable for producing a final, graded product of their work in class, one that allows them to participate in an activity many engineers and business professionals never get to experience."
According to the outline for her Hum 201 class this past fall, each student was required to complete some kind of group project.
"Students Nina Robinson, Janita Lloyd and Jennifer Oglenski expressed an interest in this literary magazine when I assigned the project and served as editors of the fall 2001-spring 2002 issue, which is our first effort," Coniglio said. "I encouraged them to consult with experts around the University for advice, which they did. I think this will be a good first issue and we plan on building on this magazine every term."
Based on the student's initial effort, the first issue offers an array of poetry and prose by more than 15 contributors. This issue features a black and white, 8-1/2 by 11-inch layout and includes several illustrations. Prose and poetry themes range from religious philosophy to romance and computer technology on the Kettering campus. More importantly, Coniglio and student editors expect to print enough copies of the magazine for distribution throughout the campus during the summer 2002 term. Future plans also include printing two issues each year and increase offerings as interest builds.
And although this kind of literary activity may appear to go against the grain of what Kettering students typically study, Coniglio feels the creation of "Mythical Verses" is a good way for her to begin her career at the University. "When I interviewed for my position here, I mentioned that I started a literary magazine at my last school," she said. "The faculty who interviewed me asked if I could give a magazine like this a try at Kettering. So far, we're moving in the right direction and I'm pleased to see how many Kettering students are actually interested in this kind of creative pursuit."
"Mythical Verses" accepts poetry, prose, and creative non-fiction and black and white artwork from current undergraduate students. To learn more about Kettering's latest student literary magazine "Mythical Verses," contact Corine Coniglio at ext. 9662, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Gary J. Erwin