Student Work

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

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

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.


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


Carta de Gracias a Los Coyotes

coyote:

  1. NORTH AMERICAN informal
    a person who smuggles Latin Americans across the US border,
    typically for a high fee.

Queridos pinches coyotes,

Déjame empezar diciendo que uso la segunda palabra con niveles contrarios de ira y compasión. Y ahora les voy hablar en inglés (con interrupciones en nuestro idioma) porque prefiero tener el control. Thank you for operating in a position the kindest souls would refer to as “ethically ambiguous.” I wasn’t always aware of your existence; I have dual citizenship and it was determined by my parents that you were irrelevant to my life. It turns out that you were the ones that constructed my fractured reality. Everyone else knows at least one of you and I know several of your triumphant retirees. You have whispered harsh instructions to my family. “¡Cállense la boca! No los miren en los ojos. Les encantaría a esos hijos de putas echarte a la cárcel.” Your instructions were once simpler; eager men were cramped inside dryers when you pointed. Or you hid them in cramped crates amongst chiles that conjured tears as their tails eagerly scratched at their eyelids. Now you meticulously match faces with forged identification cards. The fucking worst of you leave my people cerquitas a la frontera y eligen un Moisés entre los mejores hablantes de inglés. Those coyotes rip apart the gullible and desperate with their blood-stained teeth, their lack of sheen second only to the dreariness that awaits their prey on the other side. Just like their namesake, whom I consider their superiors, they flee as soon as the white man with a flashlight approaches. I know not all of you are despicable. Fairly greedy and manipulative yes, but occasionally possess an aptitude for kindness. You have been known to orchestrate the long-missed embraces of families free of charge. Les doy un millón de gracias. Sin ustedes gente como yo no existirían. Sé que algunas de ustedes sienten mucho dolor sabiendo el destino de tus clientes y a otros no les podría importar menos. Al primer grupo repito mis gracias y a los otros quiero que caminen por el desierto toda la eternidad buscando algo mejor. O a la mejor no… todavía no he decidido. Perhaps, that approach is too essentialist in nature. Anyway, to anyone that stumbled upon this letter and does not understand: I don’t know what I can say to you.

Sinceramente,
Katherine Gutiérrez
La hermana de tu clientela

Katherine Gutiérrez
Gravel, spring 2016