After a semester of writing and revision, 395H Editing and Publishing students enjoyed the fruits of their labor at the launch of Berry Spooner, a creative literary journal.
Audrey Lutz, editor-in-chief of Berry Spooner and a senior English major, said the name is a spin-off of the Prairie Schooner, the literary journal at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“It’s kind of a fun, whimsical way of playing off them, using some of their notoriety to help us, and also a way to be playful,” Lutz said.
For their final project, the 11 students in the class developed the idea of producing their own journal that features poetry and short stories. Each student submitted three pieces. Submissions were narrowed to one per student for the first issue.
About 30 students and faculty gathered Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. for Berry Spooner’s launch party in Neihardt Hall’s Blue TV Lounge.
Lutz said the theme of the issue is time.
“Our first piece is about brushing your teeth and how that reminds you of childhood, and how you can rise up from depression with the simple act of brushing your teeth,” she said. “Our last piece is about an old stone angel at a church and her experiences being on this earth for so long. So it’s kind of a progression from young to old – early in the morning to late at night.”
The launch party featured intermittent raffle drawings for copies of Berry Spooner and readings from contributors to the creative literary journal. It also included berry-themed desserts and coffee provided by The Coffee House.
Marianne Kunkel, managing editor of the Prairie Schooner, is the faculty adviser to Berry Spooner. Kunkel said she gave up teaching as a poetry graduate student when she began working full-time at the Prairie Schooner.
“This came along, and I kind of couldn’t refuse teaching this special topics honors course,” Kunkel said. “I hope (these students) go on to do many things. I hope they use this experience with any position – it’s taught them a lot about professionalism and management of time.”
Kunkel said the class provided students with first-hand experience both as authors and as editors. She said they considered accepting submissions from undergraduate students outside of the course but decided against it.
“It was important to me that they all got to submit their work for review,” Kunkel said. “I think it was valuable for them to keep it close to the cuff so they could experience both roles.”
Lutz said there are no plans to keep the journal going after the class ends, but as other editing and publishing seminars come along, they will have the choice to use the Berry Spooner logo and image and brand the class created and continue the Berry Spooner – or they can start their own journal.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve created in just a few short months,” Lutz said.
Joseph Kozal, managing editor of Berry Spooner, said the journal became more than just a class project.
“Even though it was just a class … It’s something we all really care about,” said Kozal, a senior English major.
Those interested in a copy of Berry Spooner should contact the group via their Facebook page: facebook.com/berryspooner.