“The Phoenix” evolves, expands definition of art

Photo courtesy of Maya Adams

By Andie Chilson | Reporter

After going through rounds of edits, “The Phoenix” will debut its annual issue next month at the Beall Poetry Festival from March 25 to 27.

“The Phoenix” is a student-run literary magazine that has been on Baylor’s campus for over 50 years. Every year, the magazine publishes a diverse body of unpublished undergraduate work in categories like fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drawings, paintings and photography.

Submissions are considered by an editorial board comprised entirely of students. The magazine gives an award for the top submission in the categories of poetry, prose and art/photography.

Since its founding over 50 years ago, the magazine has evolved to reflect the broader scope of artistic expression today. Recent issues have included work in categories like screenwriting, interior design and creative nonfiction.

Mark Olsen, the magazine’s faculty sponsor, said the magazine serves as both a source of creativity and a form of free expression for students.

“We do air very much on the side of freedom of expression,” Olsen said.

The Hills senior Maya Adams is the co-editor-in-chief of “The Phoenix.” Adams said the screenwriting category saw the largest increase in submissions last year, and this year the editorial board has seen submissions in categories like painting and photography.

“It has been kind of a process of finding people in those departments who are receptive to what we want to do,” Adams said.

While there is not a specific list of criteria the editors look for in submissions, they try to remain as impartial as possible by anonymizing all of the submissions before review.

“We all get together as an organization and we vote strictly on the piece that’s in front of us. And if you know who the work is by, you’re not supposed to vote,” Adams said.

Adams is currently preparing the incoming co-editor-in-chiefs to take her place next semester.

Olsen said the magazine’s editorial board has been very autonomous in the creation of the issue this semester, allowing him to take a hands-off approach to the organization this year.

“What’s remarkable about this leadership team is how autonomous they are,” Olsen said. “But every Phoenix team is different in terms of how much they need my involvement.”

If students would like to submit art or writing for consideration for the 2021 issue of “The Phoenix,” they can email their work to thephoenixlitmag@gmail.com.