On Monday, January 19, 2015, Contraries held a launch party for the official release of its Fall 2014 issue, “The Art of Translation.” The event was complete with awards, Prosecco, free copies of the journal, and a viewing of the latest promotional video.
Contraries is an interdisciplinary creative arts journal from the students of Ave Maria University. The journal was launched in Spring 2014 as a means to publish “the best of student work in various media, both literary and visual.” Peter Atkinson, an AMU senior majoring in Classics, recalls how the journal got started: “Back in 2013, Spencer Brown, a transfer to AMU, was told by Dr. Travis Curtright that I would be the one to talk to if he wanted to start a literary magazine. Spencer did and, after a few brainstorming sessions, a vision emerged for a creative journal to publish and encourage the creation of student’s art.” The project started gaining traction when Monica Bushling (’16) and Monica David (’15) expressed interest in getting involved.
Miss Bushling, a Classics and Literature double-major, recently took over as Chief Editor of Contraries. “Looking back,” she reflected, “I don’t remember hesitating at all; I had a lot of faith in Peter’s vision. The arts have always been very important to me, and Contraries seemed like an opportunity to do something for the university in the way of artistic and literary creativity.”
The team of four (Atkinson, Brown, Bushling and David), worked hard over the course of 2013-2014 to secure funding, find a printer, gather submissions and edit the entries for the release of their first issue in Spring 2014. “None of it would have been possible,” Mr. Atkinson said, “if not for the good faith of Julie Cosden [Vice President for Student Affairs]… She believed in us [and] gave us the funds necessary to know we could print whatever journal we developed. I could not imagine a better person to have worked with.”
Above: Peter Atkinson speaks at the ceremony on January 19th.
The second issue of Contraries, “The Art of Translation,” was conceived of as a project to explore the nature of translation and to tease out the subjective judgment which accompanies the task. “We knew what we wanted to accomplish when we set out,” said Miss Bushling. “To show how an individual’s interpretation of a text can be a “re-presentation” of the original while remaining true to the author’s intent. What we didn’t count on is how intense the editing process would be. There were definitely moments when we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into… But when the issue finally did come together, it was like emerging from a dark tunnel—it was stunning.” Andrew Olson, a Ph.D. student in the Theology program, and Cristina Carvajal, a literature major, joined the Contraries editing team for the Fall 2014 project.
Ave Maria University professors Blanford Parker (Literature) and Andrew Dinan(Classics), as well as translator Stanley Lombardo were invited to judge the submissions. Awards were given in three categories:
- Best Interpretation of the Latin: Andreas Waldstein & Sarah Blanchard
- Most Successful English Rendition: Andrew Olson
- Most Creative Form: Allie Dawson
Above: Monica Bushling introduces the official release of Contraries’ Fall 2014 issue.
What is this vision which drove Mr. Atkinson to found a literary journal and inspired others to sign on? “Contraries’ purpose,” Mr. Atkinson explained, “is to help students create art. There are many other good things which come out of this… but the main purpose is to foster an active culture of art on campus. Good art is a mysterious source of clarity. It can provide impetus to our time and incisively cut to what is most essential. The hope of Contraries is to foster a culture where that might occur.”
“I’m hesitant,” Miss Bushling concluded, “to confine the future of the journal too rigidly. It should remain free and flexible insofar as it meets the ever-changing demands of our culture… I hope it will continue to elevate and exalt the fine education we are receiving. Perhaps what I can say for certain is that Contrarieswill be what the students of Ave Maria make of it.”
To read past or present issues of Contraries, or to request a physical copy, visit here.