Racked: Promising Print

Magazines shine a creative light on campus

 by Ben Horowitz
 published on Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jamie-Brooke Forseth, editor in cheif of Lux, received her first poetry prize in third grade when she won the Arizona State Poetry Contest.

With all the construction on campus for buildings dedicated to science, most people know about the University's intentions to become a major scientific research center. What many people are unaware of, however, are the efforts of a few undergraduates to showcase the more creative elements present at ASU. Such efforts have included the founding of two magazines focusing on the literary and artistic talents of ASU undergraduates Lux and Marooned.

Bryan Meyerowitz, who graduated in December 2005 with degrees in history and English literature, was one of the founders of Marooned in 2004. He's now teaching what he calls the "eighth grade trilogy" of Edith Hamilton's Mythology, Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, and William F. Goldman's Lord of the Flies at Paradise Education Center, a K-8 charter school in Surprise.

When he was a junior at ASU, Meyerowitz says that he and a few classmates were part of a small group of students who decided they were tired of having no forum for undergraduate artists' work.

"We decided it was time to create something people could submit stuff to so they could share it with their friends, faculty, family and the campus in general," he says.

The magazine they eventually published in the spring of 2004 was titled Marooned. The funding for the first issue came from family and friends and a few fundraising parties. The editorial staff ended up contributing about half of the magazine's $1000 price, some of which was made back through sales.

About a year into its existence, Marooned was joined on campus by a new creative publication. The Virginia C. Piper Writing Center and the Barrett Honors College collaborated to create a new magazine that would contain the works of undergraduate students as well as be run exclusively by them.

The initial staff decided on Lux for the magazine's title. Current editor in chief Jamie-Brooke Forseth, a junior in violin performance, English literature, and political science, says she sees Lux as offering a balance to the otherwise science-oriented growth of the University.

"It's a great way to express the diversity of talent and artistic perspectives on campus," Forseth says.

In its first year, Forseth says the magazine received about 150 submissions, the best of which were published in last year's issue. For its second issue, due out in four or five weeks, Lux has received somewhere in the area of 350 submissions.

The increase hasn't just been in terms of quantity, Forseth says. This year's submissions include a wider range of artistic expression, including plays and creative nonfiction, and more nontraditional poetry and prose pieces.

The magazine's boost in submissions also included songs, some of which will be released on CD along with the magazine portion of Lux, Forseth says.

Meyerowitz says that at first, Lux and Marooned seemed to be in competition with one another. He says one of his volunteer staff found one of Marooned's submission fliers mutilated, and workers from both magazines may have been involved in defacing each other's advertisements.

The competition quickly faded when everyone realized there was room in town for both magazines, he says.

"The honors college and the Piper Center who put together Lux are stable forces," he says. "Marooned is run by students who come and go who graduate or go other places. That means that while Lux may remain more or less the same every year, Marooned will be constantly changing, so that you might not even recognize it after a few years."

The fluid nature Meyerowitz described may prevent Marooned from continuing. As of the writing of this article, SPM was unable to contact anyone who knew if future issues of Marooned were in the works.

Still, the presence of even one magazine is a good start for the artistic community at ASU, Meyerowitz says.

"There are people who want to raise the bar for creativity at ASU," he says. "People who want to let the community know we're present. If those voices stay silent, people will always think of us as a party school."

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