The English Department and the Art Department at Montgomery College, Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, recently collaborated to release the inaugural issue of The Sligo Journal of arts and letters. The real strength of the journal is that it allows the art and literature of community college students to be published alongside the work of accomplished community members.
The Sligo Journal is an online journal that features original art, photography, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in English as well as in Arabic, French, and Spanish, with the translation when possible.
Professor Robert Giron, English Department Chair and editor-in-chief for the journal, explains that its purpose “is to help promote and encourage the artistic work of our community, but foremost in my mind are our students who will be our future artists, poets, and writers.”
Students and community members agree that it is precisely the local focus of this journal that allows a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers. Don Berger, former Poet Laureate of Takoma Park and an instructor at Montgomery College, has a poem titled “For Anyone” in the journal. He said, “Having our own magazine offers a place for our own readers and others to go and find compelling literary and visual arts. It also gives many students a place to publish, perhaps for the first time.” Other contributors from Takoma Park include community poet Joshua Gray and former Takoma Park Poet Laureate Anne Becker.
Batya Carl, Montgomery College creative writing student, has a story “The Hero” in the journal. Reflecting upon the publication, she stated, “It has been a lifelong dream to have my work published into a book so this feels like a stepping stone to attaining my goals.”
But producing the first issue of this journal had its challenges. Rita Kranidis, a professor of English at Montgomery College and one of the editors of the journal, felt that one of the challenges was “the fact that everyone involved in putting together this journal is already overextended and we take this on as additional work. Also, resources are minimal, so figuring out how to issue the journal, publicize it, et cetera have been tough.”
But in the end, all involved agree that the additional work was worth the effort. Prof. Giron put it well: “I’m just thrilled to see our vision come to fruition, not only in the form of a PDF which is posted online but also in book form.”
You can view the first issue of The Sligo Journal online at thesligojournal.org, or you can purchase a copy with art in full color for $15 on Amazon.com, or visit the Bookstore on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus to purchase a copy.
— Michael LeBlanc