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Bringing Relief journal to campus

Taylor professor and students contribute

(L to R) Seniors Sarah Davis and Mary Anleitner are relieved by sharing their reflections on the English Relief Journal. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

(L to R) Seniors Sarah Davis and Mary Anleitner are relieved by sharing their reflections on the English Relief Journal. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

By Caroline Shapley | Contributor

A national literary journal, Relief, is housed within the Taylor English department. Daniel Bowman Jr., associate professor of English, is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Relief.

Bowman became involved with Relief when the journal was still being published in Chicago. His friend was editor-in-chief, and when he stepped down from that position, Bowman was able to assume the role and all operations, relocating the journal to Taylor.

Relief has published writers whose work has appeared in ‘Best American Poetry’ a National Book Award finalist, adding prestige to the publication.

“Taylor’s English department and administration has been very helpful and supportive in recognizing the value of Relief for Taylor’s students and providing assistance during the transition,” Bowman said.

Relief publishes an annual print edition with a collection of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and graphic narrative. It also includes reviews from some of the best literary and emerging writers. Blog, reflections are published from a variety of writers.

Aaron Housholder, assistant professor of English, has been involved with Relief for the past two years, working as the fiction editor. Housholder has prior experience with his own writing and as the faculty advisor to the Taylor student literary journal, Parnassus.

Housholder is a “writer’s editor.” This means he seeks out the best work from around the country and also works with pieces of writing to develop them into being as strong as them can be.

“This is a truly unique opportunity for our students to contribute to an esteemed national creative writing publication,” said Michael Hammond, dean of humanities, arts and biblical studies, “Writers work very hard just to get published in journals such as Relief. Taylor students assist with the editorial and production teams to create and distribute the journal nationwide. Relief is one of the most esteemed journals of creative writing and that experience gives our students experience that some would only find during graduate school or in professional positions. We are proud to have Relief housed at Taylor University.”

Housing a national literary journal within Taylor’s English department is nothing short of a big deal. As a Christian liberal arts college, it is a real differentiator among other colleges and universities to have this journal that increases the college’s visibility.

The English Relief Journal is an annual printed collection of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and graphic narrative. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

The English Relief Journal is an annual printed collection of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and graphic narrative. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

Relief increases the opportunities offered to students. Students who take the prerequisite course of Taylor’s student literary journal, Parnassus, can then progress to taking a spring semester course led by Bowman for Relief. The course is ENG 470: Literary Editing & Publishing ll: Relief Journal. It is an immersive learning experience on a signature project.

Students work one semester to create an entire journal. The work covers the overall process of publishing and marketing. This includes publishing, marketing and work ranging from acquisition, to revision, to copy editing. The format of the publication is also important, and students work through the design, and layout and physical construction of the magazine. Students also learn marketing, working with distribution and developing relationships and working with authors, editors and journal subscribers.

“It equips students for graduate study, for their own writing careers and for working in editing and publishing,” Bowman said.  “Last year, one of the students in the class was offered a full-time position as Assistant Managing Editor of a journal in Indianapolis based on her hands-on experience in the Relief class.”

Senior Samantha Hurst, an English creative writing major, is in her second spring semester enrolled in the course. Wanting to pursue a career in publishing, Hurst finds this course to be a learning and growing experience in preparation for her future.

Although the class consists of complex work and meeting deadlines, Hurst enjoys the atmosphere and comradery built with everyone involved.

“When you’re in the class, you get the title of editorial assistant, which just looks beautiful on a resume,” Hurst said. “I want to go into publishing and stuff like that, so when I already have this experience of Relief Journal and being an editorial assistant, they’re like, ‘Oh, you already know what you’re doing.’ So, it gives you real-world experience and you’re also learning a lot.”

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