“Lions and tigers and bears ... Oh my!” The whimsical characters from Frank L. Baum’s fairy-tale-story-turned- Hollywood-classic have come to EC with the publication of this year’s issue of EC’s literary magazine, Middle Western Voice.
The cover of this issue pops with the bright colors of Brittany Cavanaugh’s “Dorothy” and “Tinman,” two mixed-media compositions from her series on “The Wizard of Oz,” the remainder of which are featured on pages two and three of Middlewestern Voice. Cavanaugh’s pieces are an excellent choice for the cover, as they make the magazine pop with color and invite the reader in.
Cavanaugh’s pictures are one example of a trend that fills this publication of Middle Western Voice. is issue is the first one that EC has put out since George Siacca, the creator of EC’s graphic design program, resigned in spring of 2015. ere are definitely a few aesthetic differences between this issue and former issues — such as a larger, more vibrant color palette — that make the magazine more inviting and attractive than it was before.
The rest of the art in the issue, all of which was submitted by EC students, certainly holds up to the expectations set by Cavanaugh’s cover art. For example, Capri Spielman’s fairy-tale posters are humorous and thought-provoking as is Rachael Minnick’s “Girlgang” series. Both do an excellent job of providing food for thought in a way that is both attractive and subtle.
However, Middle Western Voice is about more than just art. is issue is filled with several creative stories and poems submitted by EC students.
One of the nest stories in the magazine is “Falling and Getting Up” by Corinne Demyanovich, who has previously contributed to The Leader, the winner of the First Story Contest, an annual writing contest where EC students submit creative stories using a theme. This year’s theme was “Up in the Air,” and Demaynovich’s story literally takes place in the air. The tale she weaves is quite interesting; Demaynovich describes the rise and fall of one girl, Mina’s, relationship and how she finds healing in one leap from a plane.
The plot is fairly simple — boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy meets someone else and moves on, girl finds healing — but Demaynovich does an excellent job in making the story interesting by skillfully jumping between past and present as well as telling the story of James and Mina and not just any boy and a girl.
However, what really makes this story memorable is the descriptive language Demaynovich uses. For example, she compares the landscape Mina sees as she falls as an art project. “Rivers were pipe cleaners, lakes, blue beads, forests, green felt. It was all beautifully deceptive.” James, Mina’s boyfriend, is not just a cute guy, but a man with eyes of “caramel gold, with a rich brown crew-cut that accented his eyes and olive skin.”
Fortunately for literature-lovers, Demaynovich is not the only fine writer featured in the magazine. Each story, whether it be fictional or non-fictional, brings some new idea to the table for the reader to consider.
For example, Jordan Calabrese’s “Boxes of Memories” makes the reader think about the difference between giving advice and meddling with someone’s life, and Nora Georgieva lets the reader ponder her personal experience with the police in “A Dying Blue Lantern.”
Leah Hotchkiss is one of the poets featured in the magazine. Her poems “At the Edge of the World” and “Raindrop Soul” are two of the best poems in this issue. Hotchkiss’ use of language and rhythm make her poems truly enjoyable to read.
Kayla Hoffer’s poem “Remembered Beauty” which describes how nature remembers a fallen tree is another example of the fine poetry in Middle Western Voice.
The magazine also features two student music compositions. “Variations on a theme by Chopin” by Carlos Aviles is a classical music composition, while “Cloud Rider” by Marcus Castillo is a digital music composition. There are supposed to be online recordings of both pieces; however, the website listed in the magazine does not work, it takes you to an educational blog instead of the magazine’s website. Searching the internet does not help either, as the latest issue posted online is from 2014.
One thing that is noticeably absent in this issue of the magazine is interviews with the artists and authors. In past issues, the magazine usually had one or two interviews — for example, one with the cover artist and one with a contest winner — which gave the reader a better insight into what the authors and artists were like, what inspired them and what their future plans were.
While it is nice that Middle Western Voice was able to showcase many student compositions this year, it is a shame that this had to happen at the expense of the interview pieces.
However, overall, the 2016 issue of Middle Western Voice is one that is sure to please. Students looking to pick up a copy can find them in their stands in the basement of Hammerschmidt Chapel and in the lobby of the Frick Center. Students interested in contributing to the next issue of Middle Western Voice should contact Dr. Janice Tuck Lively.