4 schools' literary journals on shelves

Magazine with work by county teens sold at Annapolis store

January 18, 2002|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

For most authors, it's a long road to the front of the bookstore. Getting prominent display often takes a history of best-selling books, an aggressive publisher and more than a little luck.

But some Anne Arundel County high school students are already there.

The literary magazines from four county high schools went on sale in an Annapolis bookstore this week, featured on the local interest table. It's a high-profile showcase for the county's budding writers and artists.

But they're getting used to that kind of attention.

The Severna Park High School literary magazine, Impulse, was named one of the best in the country last month by the American Scholastic Press Association. Impulse was one of 55 high school magazines to win the association's top honor, first place with special merit. Hundreds of high schools competed for the award.

The association gave first place awards to the literary magazines at Annapolis and Arundel high schools. And the Annapolis magazine won a gold medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

The magazines from those three schools, along with Chesapeake High School's, went on sale at the Annapolis Barnes & Noble this week.

"These are superior magazines, and they can stand up with the best of them," said Anelle Tumminello, the school system's English coordinator. "Let's put ourselves out there, let's hit it, and let's see what the audience says."

The magazines will sell for $3 to $5, with all the money going back to the schools. Bookstore officials expect the magazines to move quickly.

"They'll get good display," said Darleen Swanson, community representative for the Annapolis Barnes & Noble. "A lot of people come in and browse the local interest table."

The awards and the Barnes & Noble deal come after the county school system increased its commitment to the annual magazines, which are published annually by the 12 high schools and feature prose, poetry and artwork.

The county gives each school as much as $1,000 to help with printing costs, and hires consultants to train magazine advisers and editors and evaluate their work.

"We've really been working intensively with the teachers and students, and to have three schools come up like this is hitting the jackpot," Tumminello said. "I'm delighted."

Severna Park's magazine has won several awards in recent years, under the leadership of adviser Marty Walker, an art teacher.

"We have such talented students, we really do," she said. "The goal of our staff is to find talent wherever it is, convince them their work is great and let us publish it," she said.

"We thought we had a really strong magazine," said last year's Impulse co-editor Hannah J. Putman. She said the strength of the magazine was the variety of the work it featured - stories, poems, song lyrics, art, even a short symphony - and the number of students who contributed, 53.

The other co-editor last year was Matthew R. Bowen. Both students are freshmen at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Adolescent angst and materialism were popular themes in the magazine, though they were often treated with humor. One piece, "Upon Realizing You're Less Cool Than They Are" by Andrew Bowen, gently mocked Generation X-ers with spiked hair and black turtlenecks.

Another, by Ryan Tretter, was titled "The Gap Commercial/reject" and included:

"I was supposed to be mellow yellow

I was supposed to be the head gogo dancer

Sitting I ponder

Through clothes aisles I wander

Why? Why? Why?

It was supposed to be so easy."

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