CUA Literary Magazine, Vermillion, Launches Second Issue

Image Courtesy of Vermilion

By Angela Hickey

Catholic University’s Literary Magazine, Vermilion, has launched its second official issue on Tuesday, April 19th. The fledgling student magazine was the collective idea of a group of students who wished to create a place on campus for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and others to be a home for all the artists in the Catholic University of America community, accompanying them in their loving pursuit of beauty. 

The magazine, originally founded in 2021, is the student-run online literary magazine of the English Department at Catholic University. Vermilion publishes original, high quality literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, drama, and visual art by members of the Catholic University community.

“Being a founding member was truly amazing, because we were not only working on a project for which we all felt deep love, but we were also making it from scratch,” said senior English major and Vermilion Associate Editor, Caroline Morris. “I came to Catholic U hoping to carve out space for creative writing and was constantly asking Dr. Okuma about it, so it was an astounding joy when I found out I’d get to help create a literary magazine.”

The name was a product of Vermilion’s 2021 naming competition winner, Javier Mazariegos, class of 2023, who won the competition with the name Vermilion. His poetic explanation was described on their website to “harmonize well with the image of the magazine.”

“Vermilion is a deep shade of scarlet red,” the description reads. “Used by Renaissance painters for dramatic effect, it is bold, beautiful, a tribute to life, ordinary and extraordinary. This hue of red is both the simple scarlet of a lover’s blush and the dramatic sign of sacrifice. ‘Vermilion’ is also the closing word of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem, ‘The Windhover.’ Like Hopkins’s falcon, literature seems to soar in celestial beauty while being rooted in the soil of everyday life. Creative writers seem tasked to unite vast imagination with concrete words. Their craft teems with the vibrancy of vermilion. This magazine seeks to share this beautiful craft, which shines like a color so fully alive.”

The magazine is moderated by Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Internships in the English department, Dr. Taryn Okuma, as a class, ENG 220 in the fall semester and ENG 221 in the spring semester. The students collaborate together in order to plan events, coordinate assignments, and hand pick which pieces will be featured in that semesters’ issue.

“It’s definitely a lot of work, don’t get me wrong,” said senior Politics major and co-Editor-in-Chief, Jessica Wyeth. “But you know that horribly overused saying: ‘If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life’? Yeah. That’s exactly what this feels like. The only trouble is that I have coursework interrupting the work on Vermilion that I’d always rather be doing.”

This newest issue features various works from current students, alumni, faculty, and staff. From poetry to visual art to dramatic arts, Vermilion has achieved their mission and created a space to cultivate beauty here on campus.

“I’m incredibly proud of all the members of this staff,” Wyeth said. “In bringing together their hard work and dedication, and pairing it with the contributions from talented artists in our community, we give you: Issue 2/Spring 22 of Vermilion.”

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