Image reproduced with the kind permission of Vermilion
By Angela Hickey
Catholic University Literary Magazine, Vermilion, launched its second official issue on Tuesday, April 19. The fledgling student magazine was the collective idea of a group of students who wanted to create a place on campus for students, alumni, faculty, staff and others to be a home for all artists from the community of the Catholic University of America, accompanying them in their loving search for beauty.
The magazine, originally founded in 2021, is the student-run online literary magazine of the Catholic University English Department. Vermilion publishes original, high-quality literary fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, drama, and visual art by members of the Catholic academic community.
“Being a founding member was really amazing, because we weren’t just working on a project that we all felt deep love for, but we were also doing it from scratch,” said the senior England major and Vermilion Associate Editor, Caroline Morris. “I came to Catholic U hoping to create space for creative writing and I was constantly asking Dr Okuma about it, so it was an incredible joy when I found out I could help create a literary magazine.
The name was a product of Vermilion Winner of the 2021 naming contest, Javier Mazariegos, class of 2023, who won the contest with the name Vermilion. Her poetic explanation was described on their website as “well in keeping with the magazine’s image”.
“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 shade of red is both the simple scarlet of a lover’s blush and the dramatic sign of sacrifice. “Vermilion” is also the last word in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, “The Windhover”. Like Hopkins’ falcon, literature seems to soar in celestial beauty while rooting itself in the soil of everyday life. Creative writers seem tasked with uniting vast imagination with concrete words. Their craft abounds with the liveliness of vermilion. This magazine seeks to share this beautiful profession, which shines like a color so fully alive.
The magazine is hosted 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. Students work together to plan events, coordinate assignments, and manually choose plays for this semester’s issue.
“It’s definitely a lot of work, don’t get me wrong,” said Jessica Wyeth, a political major and co-editor. “But you know that horribly overused saying, ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’? Yeah. That’s exactly how it feels. The only problem is that I have classes interrupting work on Vermilion that I would still prefer to do.
This new issue features diverse work by current students, alumni, faculty, and staff. From poetry to the visual arts to the dramatic arts, Vermilion has accomplished its mission and created a space to cultivate beauty here on campus.
“I’m incredibly proud of all of this staff,” Wyeth said. “Bringing together their hard work and dedication, and pairing them with contributions from talented artists in our community, we bring you: Vermilion Issue 2/Spring 22.”