‘StartleBloom’ spreads the word about GCU creativity

April 06, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau

The writers, editors and artists responsible for the 2017 “StartleBloom: The GCU Literary Review” celebrated the book’s publication in true literary fashion at a party Wednesday on the Promenade at Grand Canyon University.

They handed out hundreds of copies of the newly published volumes along with complimentary book marks and packets of M&Ms and Smarties. They also took turns reading their works, which gave passersby the best treat of all — a taste of their talent.

Senior Ryan Deyling reads his poem, “Getting it Right,” from the 2017 “Startlebloom: The GCU Literary Review.”

The two College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty advisers, Professor Heather Brody and Dr. Diane Goodman, stood near each other as junior Maria Alvarez read her poem, “Hello,” which includes the words:  

“I know that you can’t move from your bed or that when you can it’s exhausting and
I’m a million billion miles away and can’t carry you from place to place.
Even if you do think you’re too old to be carried.”

Brody and Goodman had read and reread each of the 46 entries selected by the student editorial board. But as they listened to Alvarez, they sobbed as the power of her poetry struck them anew.  

“You’d think we hadn’t read it numerous times,” Brody said, dabbing her eyes.

The 68-page collection, designed by GCU’s Marketing department, was published well before the end of the semester. The process for picking poems and prose went smoothly, said senior Ryan Deyling, a board member.

Deyling also read his poem, “Getting it Right,” which says in part:

“Passion has a sort of cool zen to it,
Incalculably given,
spun, turned, wound, and discharged.”

By midbook party, Deyling had devoured nearly everything in the new collection and offered meaningful comments to writers, including Karissa Harlow, who wrote a short story, “Canticum Mortem.”

“It absolutely had all of the elements and had an interesting plot and very original idea,” Deyling said. “It kept (me) very engaged and had an ending that was unexpected and satisfying.”

Professor Heather Brody (left), with CHSS Dean Dr. Sherman Elliott and Dr. Diane Goodman holding copies of “Startlebloom: The GCU Literary Review.” 

Jessalyn Johnson is the editor-in-chief of this year’s publication. Other board members besides Deyling are Alvarez, Joseph Tim Dombroski, Emily Kopf, Hannah Mann, Cymelle Leah Edwards and S. Haines. Haines and Edwards will be co-editors-in-chief next year. 

“I am more excited than anything and astounded that they think I have the talent to lead the board,” said Haines, a sophomore.

“This is big for me, especially as I want to be a professional writer, novelist, poet — all of the above,” Edwards said.

Edwards read “The Water Runs Clear in Bakersfield,” which includes the lines:

“Newlyweds we were back then, I had finally found my prince.
And all the memories from then still make me reminisce.
We’d sit and swing, pick a song to sing, but I haven’t hummed a tune since.”

Jada Sturgis reads her poem, “Seattle,” from the new publication.

Goodman said StartleBloom volumes one and two reflect not only the thriving literary community on campus but also the talent and creativity of students from other majors and other places.

“One marvelous thing is that submissions come from across the University,” she said.  

A few days ago, Brody walked into her office and was thrilled to find that Goodman had slid a copy of the new collection under her office door. It’s a wonderful experience, she said.

“It was like giving birth,” Brody said. “It really was like we had a child.”

The StartleBloom board members are distributing the book around campus. Copies are also available on the counter in front of Goodman’s office in Building 33, Room 227, and in the GCU Library.

Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or laurie.merrill@gcu.edu.

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