‘The Phoenix’ prepares for the year with a positive new theme

Sydney Abraham, Staff Writer

Students and faculty at “The Phoenix,” Westmont’s student-run literary magazine, hope to showcase the work of Westmont artists in the process of recovery from the turmoil that has taken place in the last year. To reflect this goal, “The Phoenix” chose the theme “From Ashes,” derived from the mythical legend about “The phoenix” dying and rising out of its ashes. This year’s broad theme is open to various interpretations, ensuring diverse submissions.

Along with the magazine publication, there will also be a Spotify playlist featuring student work. “In 2021, being online is really important and there are things that you can do online that you couldn’t necessarily do in a once-a-year publication,” said Dr. McCain, English professor and faculty advisor for “The Phoenix.” 

Both McCain and Jonathan Lee, Editor-in-chief and arts editor, describe “The Phoenix” as a great opportunity for students to showcase their talents. “Compared to other institutions, this is a pretty impressive publication and a chance for students to go through that peer review process,” stated McCain.

Jonathan Lee’s vision for “The Phoenix” this year is to “create a magazine worthy of the work of the students but to also maintain a standard of a high quality, well-designed, well-edited magazine.” The deadline for students to turn in submissions was Feb. 7, and the editing process is beginning now. When looking at submissions, Lee plans to “[look] for good quality artists” in order to present a cohesive book.

Along with written interpretations of this year’s theme, there will also be art submissions. The art will be arranged in the magazine by Charis Isabel Guerzo, “The Phoenix’s” design editor. “I do a lot of moving parts,” described Guerzo, “along with putting together the art from others, I also designed the poster and logo for ‘The Phoenix.’” Guerzo explained how putting together the templates for the magazine can take up to eight hours, “due to the brainstorming, and branding and guidelines, but I genuinely enjoy it.” 

Guerzo and the rest of “The Phoenix” community are also working on creating a website for “The Phoenix” to expand their social reach. “For several years, the editors have been trying to get us online,” stated McCain. “With a website, it will be easier for the Westmont community to interact with various artists and learn more about that artist,” explained Guerzo. 

For now, the editors want to engage students by sending out all-student emails and keeping the Westmont community updated with events, such as an upcoming virtual poetry reading featuring Nigerian poet Saddiq Dzukogi. “In the pandemic, we are trying to have access to poets that are not necessarily close by,” stated McCain. 

Despite the pandemic, the submission and publication process has remained the same, although Lee described how “there are no more in-person meetings, which does take away some of that in-person feeling within the community.”

“The Phoenix” staff hopes to engage students and provide them with the opportunity to feature their work in a published format. “We want students to know the opportunities that “The Phoenix” as an outlet can provide,” said Lee.

For more information about “The Phoenix” or to get involved and stay connected, follow them on Instagram @thephx1960

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