“Each edition of Parnassus captures what Taylor cares about and is making art about,” Professor of English and Parnassus faculty advisor Aaron Housholder said. “It’s a way to record what we’re doing right at this moment.”
Since 1960, Taylor students have collaborated to create Parnassus, Taylor’s journal of art and literature featuring poetry, prose and art created by students. This year’s edition will be the 61st published edition.
Each year, the student editors collaborate to create a theme that they feel represents the heart of the journal and structures what the journal will eventually look like.
This year’s theme is Prismatica, the Latin word for prismatic. The editors chose to use this word accompanied by a honeycomb visual to represent that theme. The word prismatic is often used to describe honeycombs, along with the word’s more well-known meaning of describing the different colors of light refracting when hitting a glass object. The combination of those two visuals stood out to the Parnassus team, leading them to their decision for the theme.
“This idea of light into color, one thing into many with the honeycomb structure, that’s what really stuck out to me this year,” Parnassus editor-in-chief, senior Abigail Franklin, said.
Though the staff likes to use the theme to help structure the final journal, they look through all the submissions and choose based on a variety of different factors. For a literary piece, they look at how it’s written and the craft utilized in the piece. For visual art, they look at the composition of the piece. For all submissions, they want to see what emotions are sparked by the story the creator is trying to tell.
The theme is relevant but not necessary for choosing submissions. Ultimately, the staff wants to ensure that well-crafted and genuine pieces make it into the journal.
“What it may appear as is that we tried to follow this theme of what the journal is that year, but that's not always the case,” junior Katherine Bodkin, a Parnassus staff member, said. “If it's evident that this is a piece of you on the paper, then that's really attractive to us.”
The staff members want to see what’s being created by Taylor students right at this moment in time. They want to see what’s on the mind of the collective campus.
The staff looks forward to reading the submissions and seeing what kind of art the student body can produce each year. The ability to work on Parnassus gives them the opportunity to see inside the minds of people all over campus, no matter their major.
“It's the outlet of creativity for anyone and everyone on Taylor's campus,” Bodkin said. “So we try really hard to get all sorts of representation so it's not just a literary journal that’s only for English majors or creative writing majors or art majors. It's for anybody who has something that they want to share.”
By consolidating a collection of art by students, the staff creates their own collective piece of art, embodying the entirety of the campus. Anyone who submits to Parnassus puts a piece of themselves into the journal, and the staff members put pieces of themselves in as well.
The collaborative process to compile this collective piece of art allows the staff to come together and create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
“We’re making something that’s bigger than us and bigger than any individual in here could’ve made,” Housholder said. “That teamwork element is magic. Art is always collaborative. Those discussions were art to me.”