Jessalyn Johnson is a senior at Grand Canyon University, completing the final year of her BA in English Literature. Originally from Melbourne, FL, Jessalyn has come to enjoy living in the desert of Arizona. Since freshman year she has occupied several different positions on the editorial board of GCU’s literary review, StartleBloom, which is approaching its third volume. In her free time, Jessalyn enjoys creative writing, photography, writing music and participating in the plays and musicals put on by GCU’s Ethington Theatre.
Over the course of the 2015-16 school year, a select group of individuals within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University set out to start a literary review composed of student work. The review, titled “StartleBloom: The GCU Literary Review,” contains poetry and short fiction, as well as artwork and photography.
Not only is the literary review full of creativity solely from the minds of the GCU student body, but the actual making of the book itself is also almost completely done by a group of English students, with the help of a few faculty members. Seven students, six seniors and one freshman, began work on the review early in the fall semester.
“The name ‘StartleBloom’ was influenced by contemporary poetry,” said Editor-in-Chief Luke Amargo. “The name had to be aloof, yet accessible.”
“We have wanted to revive the literary journal. Our club, Friends of the Pen, had the potential power, but we needed to catalyze. Professor Brody has seen our growth since freshman year. When Dr. Goodman came into the scene, the environment from Friends of the Pen and Write On was ripe for the literary journal, especially with the support of the English faculty. We hope to leave a legacy to tap into the pulse of creative writing and artistry.”
Amargo, along with board members Hayley Richman, LaRisa Rowe, Vanessa Cooper, Preston Eidsvoog and Ashlyn Tupper, will be graduating this spring.
The literary review board, along with faculty advisors Heather Brody and Diane Goodman, PhD, have worked hard to help the review live up to its potential. Out of 129 student submissions, the journal contains 29 pieces of original poetry and prose, along with eight pieces of art, including photography, hand drawings and paintings.
“The quality of the debut issue of ‘StartleBloom’ has surpassed even my highest expectations, and we have GCU’s marketing department to thank for that,” said Dr. Goodman. “It is such a joy to see the high level of originality and creativity in GCU students. I am happy to report that each member of the editorial board has a piece in this issue; all of the submissions were read anonymously so every acceptance was legitimate and without bias.
“With a few exceptions, the student board is responsible for every piece that will appear in the review. They were intelligent, careful and discerning readers; I think the finished product demonstrates each member’s literary vision and good taste.”
The next issue of “StartleBloom” will be released sometime within the upcoming 2016-17 school year, including an almost completely new editorial board to bring new, creative ideas to the table to create a second edition of GCU’s literary review that is just as unique as the first.
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