By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
The power and beauty of creative writing was evident Thursday when writers, editors, artists and creators of “StartleBloom: The GCU Literary Review” celebrated the book’s third edition at a party on the Promenade at Grand Canyon University.
Students handed out hundreds of copies of the newly published volume along with complimentary bookmarks and packets of Skittles. They also took turns delivering varied and near perfect readings of selected poems. The two College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty advisors, Professor Heather Brody and Dr. Diane Goodman, applauded and offered meaningful comments to writers.
Jewelea Trujillo read her poem, “The Dragonfly Lady.”
“In the pond, she sits serenely,
Enjoying her reflection in the quiet ripplies.
A hum, a melody, entrances those nearby:
The fish swim gracefully with a flutter of fins,
Cicadas ring a chorus of appreciation.”
“I like a lot of fantasy and mythology, and I wanted to do a piece that explored what water would be like for a mermaid and how she would act on a daily basis,” Trujillo said. “It’s an interesting piece because I feel that a lot of times, the writing community can stray away from fantasy and fiction. But I want to pull that into poetry and works of literary merit.”
StartleBloom is a 77-page collection, designed by GCU’s Marketing department, of poetry, short fiction, artwork and photography. The project took a year to complete. The name, StartleBloom, was former Editor-and-Chief, Luke Amargo’s brain child.
“It’s the idea that the creative process begins with a startling idea and blooms into something bigger,” Goodman said.
Amargo ignited the spark that fanned into the Friends of the Pen student creative writing club in 2013, and then Goodman’s arrival in 2014 set off a chain of events resulting in StartleBloom’s publication two years later. Goodman’s background includes a master’s degree in Fine Arts, which includes creative writing. She also has done short stories published by national presses and poems and essays published in national magazines.
Goodman said to watch the way students have grown intellectually and poetically “is astonishing and moving. The way they respond to each other, help each other with their work, how serious they are, how smart they are and how insightful they are – that’s the best part for me.”
Trujillo said she is most proud of how her poem, originally written a year ago, has evolved during her time in the GCU writing community. Trujillo will be co-editor-in chief of StartleBloom next year.
“By being around these people, I learned so much more about the craft and how to approach it, so when I went back to my poem I was able to create a much stronger piece,” Trujillo said. “I am really grateful for all of those who have fostered this community.”
She added, “This is their journal and this is their event. Their pride in the finished product is something that really affects me emotionally. We have so many students on this campus who love to write and have really great material. That makes it fun.”
Senior Cymelle Leah Edwards is the editor-in-chief of this year’s publication. Edwards read a piece from Volume 2, “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.”
Volume 3 contains two pieces by Edwards – a prose poem titled, “Peralta Trail,” and a short story, “The Obsolescence of Poe.”
“As editor-in-chief, the experience has helped me shape my own work, critique my writing and get exposure outside of campus,” Edwards said.
Edwards, who had never performed her own words live, took home a $50 prize last fall at a poetry slam event in uptown Phoenix.
“It’s been an awesome opportunity to meet new people, but also having Dr. Goodman has had a huge impact on my life,” Edwards said. “Just the fact that GCU can find people like her is incredible. I’m so blessed.”
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.
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org