The SRU English Department hosted its annual Sound and Literary Art Book (SLAB) release party on Wednesday night at the Alumni House. This event was unique from other years because this is the 10th issue of SLAB and the first issue of ‘The Roxy’, a student-run film and media studies journal.
SLAB is the student organization that puts together a book of the same name compiling creative works from published writers across the country. Every spring, they debut that year’s publication. 2015 marks 10 years since the first SLAB was released.
This issue is bigger than any issue previous, containing 270 pages instead of 220.
“The biggest thing we have in here is an interview with the very well-known poet Gerald Stern,” English professor and staff advisor for SLAB, Dr. Mark O’Connor said. “There are four new poems that no one’s ever seen that he gave to SLAB, which was hugely generous.”
Stern has had work published in The New Yorker, and the transcript of excerpts of his interview with Dr. Barta-Smith can be found in SLAB, in addition to poems, creative nonfiction and fiction works from writers from all over the country who submitted to them. The cover art is a photo by Tom Little of John Peña’s piece called ‘Word Balloons’, which is on display at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.
The first edition of ‘The Roxy’ is an important accomplishment for the English Department and was also celebrated at SLAB’s event.
The journal is named after ‘The Roxy’, which was a movie theater on Main Street in Slippery Rock that opened on April 10, 1939. It burned down on April 27, 1978 during a showing of Saturday Night Fever.
“We were very happy to have the SGA, the Slippery Rock Film Society and the English department help us with funding for the first issue,” Dr. William Covey, English professor, director of the film and media studies minor and staff advisor for ‘The Roxy’ said. “We received extra help from Wendy Leitera, ex-mayor Dr. Ken Harris, Dr. Nancy Barta-Smith, Dr. Marnie Petray, Dr. Jason Stuart as well as from student Abbie Lahmers.”
‘The Roxy’ features 95 pages of SRU undergraduate student-written academic film essays, analyzing everything from superhero movies to Hitchcock to Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’.
“It’s super cool in that it gives SRU students interested in publishing marketable skills like manuscript selection, editing, proofreading and layout skills,” junior creative writing major and editor-in-chief of ‘The Roxy,’ Kaisha Jantsch, said. “It’s small right now, as this is the first edition, but we hope to grow and expand it in the future.”
The event itself had a large turnout of English professors and English majors and minors. Copies of SLAB were given out to all in attendance, free of charge, and ‘The Roxy’ was distributed to staff members and contributors to the journal. SLAB creative nonfiction editor LaMorie Marsh operated a button-making machine that allowed those in attendance to cut a photo of their choice out of a magazine and have it made into a button. The event also had Lori Jakiela, a poet/author and professor at Pitt-Greensburg come in and read some of her work.
“Lori Jakiela had the whole room laughing as she read poems about her time as a flight attendant,” Genna Walker, a senior creative writing and philosophy double major and managing editor for SLAB said. “She also read from her recently released memoir, Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe which explores her search for her biological mother.”
Copies of SLAB can be obtained for free in the English Department office in Spotts.