Literary gateways on UA’s campus

Mary Claire Wooten, Contributing Writer

Tucked away in offices around The University of Alabama’s campus are communities centered around creativity and authenticity. 

The University is home to a multitude of literary journals. The Marr’s Field Journal for undergraduates; the Black Warrior Review for graduate English students; and The Blount Truth for undergraduates in the Blount Scholars Program highlight the literary work of students from across campus.

Literary journals on campus provide the opportunity for students to submit work they feel passionate about in a welcoming environment. In the wake of big life events and college transitions, a safe place for students to express themselves can be encouraging. 

Even with variations in editors and submission requirements, the goal remains the same: provide a safe space for writers and artists to share and publish their work.

Cover of an edition of the Marr's Field Journal.
Courtesy of the Marr’s Field Journal

Marr’s Field Journal

“Our main goal is to showcase the vitality of artistic expression and community at UA,” said Kathleen Kelley, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies and the editor-in-chief of Marr’s Field Journal. 

The Marr’s Field journal, established in 1989 and housed in the Office of Student Media, focuses its efforts on poetry, prose, dance, theater, art and music composition in an annual publication. 

Along with written submissions, Marr’s Field Journal features visual art. The journal’s 2020-2021 edition focused on darker color schemes. 

Kelley said there are often repeated motifs within the submissions the journal receives. 

The Marr’s Field journal was originally printed but has since switched to online publication as a result of COVID-19. 

Kelley said the journal’s staff plans to return to print this year, with some intriguing ideas in the works. 

“Don’t be afraid to submit. Focus on artistry, and let us do the rest,” Kelley said. 

Cover of an edition of The Blount Truth.
Courtesy of The Blount Truth

The Blount Truth 

With a focus on unconventional art forms, The Blount Truth portrays artistry in an uncategorized fashion. While accepting artworks campus wide, the goal is to convey the Blount Program’s artistic vision in the form of an annual publication and online journals. 

“We really like to see diversity in authors and try to highlight marginalized voices,” said Keerthana Manoj, a senior majoring in English, who is the editor-in-chief and a founding member of The Blount Truth. “We love to publish nontraditional and genre-blending works.”

The 2021 edition of The Blount Truth printed works not always accepted in literary journals, such as screenplays and academic essays on societal issues sandwiched between photo collections, drawings and sculptures.

Submissions for The Blount Truth are open through Jan. 19.

Cover of an edition of the Black Warrior Review.
Courtesy of the Black Warrior Review

 

Black Warrior Review

Housed in the University’s Office of Student Media is the longest-running literary journal created by graduate students in 1974, the Black Warrior Review. The journal prints biannually and has an annual online publication titled Boyfriend Village, added in 2018.

Boyfriend Village is named after a short story by a former editor of the Black Warrior Review, who died on March 15, 2018. The online publication is themed with a different boyfriend each year, which is decided by the editor for the publication. 

“We take a lot of chances on writers,” said James McKenna, a graduate student and the poetry editor for the Black Warrior Review. “Taking risks can take you far.”

The most recent edition features cover artwork from Laylah Ali, a contemporary visual artist known for works with references to hieroglyphs and American folk art.

These journals, with submissions from every corner from campus, value authenticity and originality overall. 

Questions? Email the Culture desk at culture@cw.ua.edu.