18th Annual Bluestone Review
Co-editors celebrate the release of the 18th annual Bluestone Review.
April 25, 2012
A crowd of around 80 people from BC and the community gathered on April 19 to share their written and artistic work for the 18th annual Bluestone Review magazine release party.
Since 1992, Dr. Rob Merritt, professor of English at BC, has been the faculty advisor of The Bluestone Review, an annual literary magazine open to students at BC and the community, to submit poetry, prose and artwork for publication.
Dr. Rob Merritt, Heather Paisley and Carrie Smith
This year’s co-editors, Carrie Smith and Heather Paisley, were both excited the moment the magazines emerged from the box.
Paisley, a BC senior and criminal justice major, said when she first held the newly published magazine in her hand it looked and felt amazing. She said she loved the artwork on the cover, by BC student Meredith Simkins, and the photo of the light bulb on the back, by Melissa Hubert.
Smith said putting the magazine together was a good experience and sometimes a little rocky, but it was worth it in the end. She said she was very excited to see the finished product.
The co-editors spent hours reading submissions and putting together the layout for the magazine, throughout the course of the semester.
Smith’s advice to future Bluestone editors is to have patience. She said it takes a lot of time and effort to put the magazine together.
Among the crowd were parents of both Paisley and Smith, who attended the Bluestone event to offer their support. The co-editors were pleased with this year’s turnout.
Along with returning BC student writers Lydia Freeman and Emily Sears, first-time submitters Hannah Spicer, Sasha Dove and Antoine Wilkerson shared their poetry and prose.
Spicer, an English education major, said it was nerve-racking to read her short story to the audience, especially since she had a cold that evening. However, she knew she could power through and it was a great experience. She is planning to submit work again next year.
Wilkerson, a BC student from Richmond, said when he wrote his poem it was the first time he ever got serious enough to write something down.
“I feel like it’s an honor to be picked, or published at all,” he said.
Wilkerson wrote his poem for a class taught by Merritt. He said he submitted his work and presented it at the Bluestone event out of respect for Merritt.
“I did it for him,” he said.
Dove, a BC sophomore, said he was nervous to present to the crowd, but when he stood in front of the podium he felt natural reading his poem. He said his poem allowed him to speak from his heart and his mind. He had never written poetry before, but Merritt helped him with his piece. He said he was driven by inspiration and the ability to take nothing and turn it into something.
BC faculty member Dr. Robert Shippey and former staff member Deb Linkous also shared their work.
Shippey, Vice President of academic affairs, said he could hardly be defined as a poet, but with the help of Merritt he was able to hone his work. He said he attended to celebrate the students and Merritt’s hard work.
“Poetry is such hard work,” he said. “It was a joy for me to be here and see everyone in the community and a lot of fun to share my thoughts. More importantly, to hear what our students do to celebrate their creativity.”
The largest part of the audience was members of the community. From ages nine to 93, presenters shared their poetry and prose. Third-grade student Emma Seay shared a story about her older brother’s fight with cancer and the metal leg he now has because of it. She introduced her brother to the audience after she finished reading her story.
Ryan Burkes, a fifth-grade student at Mercer School, wrote about becoming invisible, and the only cure being the answer to a difficult math problem. As a first-time submitter, he said he was nervous to read in front of the crowd. He enjoyed writing and sharing the story, and wants to try to get published again next year. He said he also enjoyed the break from everyday school work that writing the story provided.
“It got us out of our normal work, so I was happy,” he said.
Stephen Godfrey, from Green Valley, W.Va., has been published in The Bluestone Review multiple times and enjoys coming to the events. He said it is nice because there are a wide variety of people presenting, with different works and different age groups.
He also sees a change in the crowd each year he attends.
“It keeps growing a little bit every year,” he said.
Merritt was happy to see the amount of people who attended. He said the magazine has somewhat of a following, with some of the same people attending every year, from the same teachers who encourage their students, to others in the community.
Merritt said he was happy with the final product and was especially impressed with this year’s artwork submissions. He encourages people who don’t think they are artists to contribute.