Student Work

Opportunities abound for English majors to practice their craft. Undergraduate writers have the opportunity to participate in the following publications:

Cargoes
Cargoes
A student-produced campus literary magazine published once a year, Cargoes includes student work, the winners of the Cargoes National Undergraduate Competition, and the winners of the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest. Cargoes has won the undergraduate Literary Prize for content from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.


The Album
The Album
A student-produced campus literary journal published every semester, The Album is an alternative outlet for both traditional and experimental literary works.


The Cyborg Griffin
Cyborg Griffin
A student-produced campus literary journal published once a year, The Cyborg Griffin seeks to foster appreciation for the speculative genres. Gallery 


Gravel
Gravel
A student-produced campus literary magazine published once a year, Gravel is a multicultural literary magazine that works to create an inclusive environment and focuses on racial, ethnic, and national identity, as well as sexual orientation and regional, socioeconomic, religious, and gender identity.


Wasteland

My skin
lizard thick as become
a dry, tight
untouched place

a Serengeti Summer
on the South African plains
awaiting the arrival
of the wet season

hard earth
cracked and crumbled

delicate enough
to be brushed away
in the wind

Cynthia Shutts
Cargoes, Spring 2017


After the Orphaning

i decide to leave
the diamond-blister beaches
and acid-laced rains
of sweet florida swampland
to my mother. un-mothered,
alone, i burrow myself
between virginia’s valleys
and star-scratching mountains:
i will learn to mother
by watching spring shake snow
off its pinking shoulders and raise
purple bloodroot from white frost
easy as the gods damn and love.

a better burial my southern children
will give me in this deep soil
than any limestone coffin
my mother could beg.

Dean Symmonds
The Album, Spring 2017


Pancit And Pandesal

Typical family gathering
cold as frostbitten strawberry ice cream:
winter. (Christmas to be exact). You’re
sitting in a chair opposite me,
unresponsive. Sleeping. Not feeling well
either because of a virus
of the sinus system
or the chronic one in your brain:
either way. You’re not acknowledging me
(so whichever it is doesn’t matter.)
My cousins
are healthy and happy
and rowdy
as the scent of the
popping, cracking, sizzling oil that’s frying
the lumpia.

There is an abundance of lumpia
and pancit and pandesal
and, per the usual,
I’m stacking plates to take
home.
Being encouraged by my uncles
to take
more, more, please take more.

I wish I took more.
Who know
that was the last time I’d be eating
pancit and pandesal
with you?

Esmere Litz
Gravel, spring 2017


things forgotten
for abuela

we built a dam, you and i
filled the empty chasm
with fried plantains
and grape popsicles

i close my eyes,
breathe in fresh fish
bathing in ice,
googly eyes gaping
i gaze back, wonder
what lives they lead
before they were brought here

stories about warm rain
and playing in the street
flowed over me
while you watched me shakily copy
the colors of your Panama
in your loopy, elegant script

cursive was the last thing
you taught me
before retreating
into thoughts of la patria
and barring yourself
from all who were unworthy

i wish i could have pulled more of you
from your confused medulla
reached into that jumbled mess
of neurons
and introduced myself to you
with a mucho gusto

i wish i could have learned
about your whirlwind romance
your adventure across the sea
the delinquents
the outcasts.

but instead
i let the dam dry out,
leaving nothing
but spoiled fruit
and broken sticks.

Bryanne Carter
Gravel, Spring 2017


Nymphs

The soft moss encourages you to lay your head
as your skin curls into bark,
hair flattens into green leaves,
fingers stretch into twigs
and arms into branches.

You twist your legs into the soil
but reach to worship the sun.

Scottie Draughon
The Cyborg Griffin, Spring 2017


hurricane isabel

When the wind picked up,
my mother threaded ropes of pearls
through nervous fingers;
my grandmother hid in the coat closet.
From the hallway,
we reached for her small hands
between the empty arms and soft furs.

The oak at the side of our house
fell through our neighbors’, split
a bedroom in two, and landed
—the earth of my childhood
shook and settled—
in their kitchen.

My father placed a hand on the front door,
closed, and listened to the gray roar of the rain.

After the worst of the storm,
our street a new stream, children in ponchos
gathered branched, forged homes from limbs.
My mother helped me place a thin fallen tree
across the narrow skirt of the lake.

A week later, I crossed its length
again, watched our neighbors put out a flag
Isabel Who?
                        curling with the wind—
and eat dinner off the oak.
And always there was my grandmother hidden
between coat sleeves, asking
is it over
            is it over
before my mother closed the question’s door.

Morgan Blalock 
Cargoes, spring 2016


Divorce

I knew a man with magnolias in his mouth.
He loved a woman with a pine tree rooted
in her spine. He fled south when her winters
grew too cold.

Taylor Frost
Cargoes, spring 2016


Leaving Poem
For sue

The sun is an egg smashed in blank sky.
Bones of the picket fence sink earthward,
dead ladybugs abide on the unvisited threshold,
the field out back lies fallow and brown, unworked.

This is the last time I leave your house;
contents gutted, for sale sign out front,
an empty shell, a once-yours.
Still, your fingerprints left on the windowsill.
Still, your last breath hangs in the quiet air.
In your absence, everything has all but wilted.

I forget the german shepherd’s gone until
I realized I don’t hear his bark. He must have been
chasing your ghost. He must have torn down
the highway. The sycamores you planted
leached all moisture from the soil this summer,
growing spindly. The earth cracks itself open,
mosquitoes singing.

Every time I’ve left this place (and it has been
many times) it was never the last time until
this time. I find your old work shirt hidden
in your discarded things. I put it on, shove
fistfuls of dirt into the pockets, line the rolled-up
sleeves with stones. I want to wear your house,
the land, against my chest, feel the merciful
weight of this place, bend my skin to the bricks,
mossy memories of before rather
than this bleak after.

The same old crows on the roof, crowing,
the same old bench, overlooking the field out back,
the same old stretch of flatness, flat.

Johnna Henry
The Album, spring 2015


Bastard

They ask why you dress like a boy.
Is it because you want to be a boy? No.
You just want your mother to love
you as much as she loves men.
But you don’t want to be a boy.
Nothing is ever that easy. You never
want to be something so dangerous.
You laugh to ease the harassment. Only men
ask that question, the kind of men
your mother loves.

Brandie Gray 
The Album, spring 2015


black Queen

Nana always told me, “Baby girl, you are a queen.”
The world shall address you as, “Your majesty.”
Each and every day I was trained to rule and reign.
Little did I know this training was all in vain.

I’ve been lost in this world with distorted eyes.
Realizing that my American flag is all a disguise.
Saying the pledge of allegiance with a tongue that is tied.
For in the land of the free, my freedom has died.

I am the Angry Black Woman.
I am the Black Superwoman.
Stereotypes and prejudices hidden in my bosom.
Like what to a slave is the Fourth of July ism?

The racists look at me with coldblooded eyes.
They tell me my experiences are a bed of lies.
Sometimes I disengage and simply sigh.
I ask my sisters, my brothers, and MY people, Why?

Chin up, shoulders high, never bowing, never shy.
Chin up, shoulders high, never bowing, never shy.
Chin up, shoulders high, never bowing, never shy.
Chin up, shoulders high, never bowing, never shy.

I am the Angry Black Woman.
I am the Black Superwoman.
The strong, hardworking welfare queen.
The dirty, promiscuous, Black teen.
The resilient foe, the craving fiend.
The one who is never inwardly seen.

I am the contrast of white womanhood.
Instead, I live in Jackson Ward, the hood.
My people banished by redlining to no good.
Black people, stay in your line! Do as you should!

How am I identified?
When I am silenced and marginalized.
When I am invisible, unrecognized.
How am I classified?

I struggle for respect with invisibility.
I enhance my black beauty and abilities.
Like Martin Luther King Jr, I choose civility.
I cope using my strengths and capabilities.

I am no poverty stricken welfare queen.
I am no disenchanted, unruly teen.
I am not always angry, nor am I always mean.
Instead, I am improperly viewed and seen.

In all actuality, despite what the world sees in me.
I am a Black Queen.

Chloe Edwards
Gravel, spring 2016