On Oct. 27, specs, Rollins’ international literary journal, launched its third edition. At the kickoff, Eliza Fernbach’s film, Mother’s Day, was shown and award-winning poet Anne Simpson read one of her works in the SunTrust Auditorium. Both are past contributors to the journal.
specs is an international journal that aims to produce a charged atmosphere around artistic and critical approaches. The journal publishes creative works that attempt to blur genres. Aiming to break down the distinctions between poems, works of fiction, and critical writing, specs contains seepages, warped conversations and misappropriations between areas of content. specs has published work by critics such as Slavoj Zizek as well as work by visual artists such as Portia Munson.
Assistant Professor Dr. Vidhu Aggarwal founded specs in 2007 “in an attempt to foster a dialogue between Rollins with artists and critics outside Rollins.” The journal’s review board is interdisciplinary, containing historians, anthropologists and literary critics, who help to expand the viewpoints available in the annual journal. specs has published authors from all over the U.S. as well as Canada, Croatia, and India.
The newest issue is themed “Toys.” It contains stories like “Little Sister” by Nabil Arnaoot, which is about a woman’s obsessed haunting by characters from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, as well as artwork concerning miniatures (i.e., miniature tornadoes and toy soldiers) and critical articles about bicycles and toy collections.
While Rollins students cannot submit to specs, the English Department offers a class in the spring semester that is a journal production class. Students are involved in the layout, theme, and production of the journal. Through the class, students become passionately involved in the look and feel of the journal.
Dr. Aggarwal’s favorite parts of working with the journal are “the various collaborations with faculty and students in thinking out the journal each year. We have a great team. Everyone is so passionate.”
Tanya Grae, a student at the Hamilton Holt school, loves the passion of her fellow students as well. “What I gained is appreciation for behind the scenes. Sandra Johnson’s dedication to see this issue to fruition was inspiring. Many obstacles along the way, and she finished the marathon with a gorgeous issue in hand.” She also loves “well-wrought fiction and poetry—the kind that can stand pressure. Working on specs is an opportunity to see the unpublished offerings of great voices and to shine a light on those that resonate collectively.”
The fourth issue, which will be released in 2011, is themed “Kaleidoscopic Point.” Assistant Professor Julian Chambliss, one of the journal’s critical editors, came up with the theme. The journal is seeking works of fiction, non-fiction, cultural criticism, artwork, poetry, and pieces that blur genre boundaries and reflect reality.
In order to purchase a copy of specs, check out the website at specsjournal.org or stop by the English Department in Carnegie Hall to buy an issue.