By Gabrielle Fellows
Jenny Magazine, run by the Student Literary Arts Association, is celebrating its eighth issue with a release party at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center on Thursday April 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.
There will be music, refreshments and raffle baskets, as well as an open mic for attending authors and poets. Featured SLAA members will also be reading pieces of their favorite works that have been published in the issue.
Couri Johnson, SLAA president and Jenny head editor, said that each issue of the Jenny is one to be celebrated because it represents that Youngstown and the students of Youngstown State University are still defying the odds and thriving in a place that has seen better days.
“Jenny represents the spirit of Youngstown in a big way. Its name was selected by former SLAA president and creator, Chris Lettera, in honor of the Jeanette Blast Furnace … that was closed down in 1977. It represents the prosperity that was once so prevalent in Youngstown — along with the disappointment of all the promise once the Steel industry once held for this area — and the hope that we can continue afterwards,” Johnson said. “Youngstown State University has come to represent that hope for much of the area, and Jenny does as well. We want to be more than just a magazine, we want to be a signpost to the rest of the world that Youngstown is still here, still creating and still burning.”
As for the future of Jenny Magazine, former member Madison Sudon has hopes that the publication will continue to create with more members and in more unique ways.
“I believe the Jenny would like to expand to include more members. We have been trying to do more printed issues rather than solely being online,” Sudon said. “We are also looking into accepting submissions for graphic novels sometime in the future.”
For those who are passionate about literary arts and identify themselves as “book nerds” and “fiction junkies,” institutions such as Jenny Magazine represent much more than just a place to get their work published.
Dom Fonce, co-editor of poetry for the eighth issue of Jenny, said that the establishment isn’t just an online magazine — it’s a family of inventive minds that find comfort in the insanity that is creative writing.
“I wouldn’t recommend anyone get into creative writing, it’s a roller coaster. Some have to, and those people that have made it this far into the creative writing community understand,” Fonce said. “If I don’t write fiction, I’ll go insane.”
Students who feel the same familiar urge to create and wish to help share stories in the Jenny should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking for meeting information and join SLAA’s mailing list.
Johnson said the magazine is always on the lookout for students wishing to join the imaginative crew and is ready to welcome them with open arms.
“We’re always looking for passionate, fun and dedicated individuals to join our team,” Johnson said. “We don’t have a preference for what major they’re in, or what genre of literature they like. So long as they love the literary arts, we love them.”