The Ignatian Literary Magazine makes a vibrant return to print.


DESIGN BY SOFIA CRISWELL / IMAGE COURTESY OF THE IGNATIAN

After two years of being published solely online, USF’s annual student-run literary magazine, The Ignatian, will return to print. The magazine, described as “An integral thread of USF’s historical tapestry for more than 100 years,” includes creative fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and artwork of various mediums from contributors that extends beyond just USF students, but includes submissions from across the world. 

For Bex Brzotoski, senior performing arts and social justice major and the magazine’s Poetry editor, the magazine “is an opportunity, not only for us to get tangible experience in publishing, but also to actually physically publish people’s writing and artwork.” 

Led by co-editor in chiefs Cat Ling, a sophomore comparative literature major and Lucia Verzola, a senior English major and the Foghorn’s editor in chief, the staff consists of students who enroll in the Ignatian Magazine class (ENGL 198). The staff then goes on to pick both prose and art submissions that go into the magazine. 

The staff is also tasked with the responsibility of choosing a theme for the magazine. As Ling explained, this year’s “Metamorphosis” theme is intended to celebrate the transformation and growth that everyone has undergone as a result of the life changes brought about by the pandemic. 

The Ignatian has undergone several metamorphoses of its own. Originally founded in 1910, the magazine was also an alumni magazine and yearbook for a time. 

As one of the co-editors in chief, Ling’s specific responsibilities include overseeing and advising the Poetry genre and Arts and Design committee, as well as preparing an agenda for each class. Along with the other head editors of Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry, she organizes the magazine’s official Submittable account, the platform contributors use to submit their work. 

Speaking of her involvement with the magazine, Ling said, “To me, The Ignatian is a passion project plus more. Yes, it’s the kind of project that can count towards my degree and make my resume appear to be more attractive, but it’s also the kind of project that grants me the space to be a leader, a creator, and a friend.” 

Ling was able to reflect on the differences between being involved with The Ignatian for the 2020-21 academic year, when it was only published online, versus returning to print this spring. “The two years that I’ve been involved with The Ignatian have been vastly different,” she said. 

“Last year, we were entirely virtual, which made collaboration and motivation more difficult to achieve,” Ling continued. “Meanwhile, being hybrid and then fully in person this year has made collaboration and motivation the standard for all future staff.” 

Ling was impressed by how this year’s team dove into the magazine’s history by learning about its past to pave the way for “an even richer future.” In the 1960s, the magazine was temporarily moved off campus as the editors felt that their freedom of expression was limited, at which point the Foghorn was responsible for publishing creative writing in a special section of the paper. In 1988, the Ignation was brought back to USF by popular demand and remains the university’s primary platform for publishing creative student works.

Freshman international studies major Sofia Criswell, the head of design for the magazine, elaborated on what readers can expect from the “Metamorphosis” theme. “Our theme is deeply inspired by coming back to ‘normality’ after a spell with the absurd,” Criswell said. “My team and I discussed the intentions we felt needed to be planted after a period of uncertainty. Metamorphosis encapsulates what we felt needed to happen on the micro and macro level; within ourselves and as a larger society.” 

Aesthetically, Criswell said that she and her team “wanted to deliver a magazine that was vibrant.”  “We didn’t want to come back to print with a magazine that felt dull or somber; this desire is reflected in our design choices,” Criswell explained. “Rich colors, bold type-faces and a plethora of artwork varying in style and concept all make this edition unique.” 

Criswell and Ling both expressed a common desire for readers to derive a sense of inspiration from The Ignation’s Volume 34. “The artists really made this edition a powerful one and all the pieces within ‘Metamorphosis’ are there for a reason. This was truly a project that was tackled with intention through and through,” Criswell said. 

Likewise, Ling said that she hopes “that by experiencing Volume 34, individuals within the USF community can recognize and become familiar with the safe, creative space that The Ignatian has to offer.” 

“I hope that people can read contributors’ stories or look at their visual artwork to learn something about anything, especially themselves,” Ling said. “I hope that people feel inspired by something that they might not have even known before if it weren’t for our magazine.” 

Readers can  pick up Volume 34 of The Ignatian after its release on Tuesday, May 10. 

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