This semester, AmLit decided to steer away from recent tradition and replace “Best in Show” with a new feature, “Editor’s Choice.” In past semesters, we have reached out to professors to select what was, in their opinion, the best piece in a genre. This semester, each member of our E-Board chose a piece to highlight in the magazine instead. Rather than four Best in Show pieces, this volume of AmLit has sixteen Editor’s Choice pieces — chosen with love, care, and appreciation by AmLit’s E-Board members.
Accompanying the “Editor’s Choice” labels you will see in our Fall 2020 issue, this blog post contains an explanation from each editor, giving you a glimpse into the reasons behind their choice. This allows us to connect with the AmLit community in a way we haven’t done before; as each editor spent hours flipping through the pieces you will see in the pages to come, this new feature gives us a chance to let artists know how much their work impacts those that read it.
“a gracious stranger’s home” by Stephanie Mirah (p. 4)
I was initially drawn to the color scheme of the piece. What made it truly my favorite was the composition and character.
— Piper Hamm (Photo Editor)
“pristine” by Lia Patentas (p. 8)
The work is a beautiful mix of both nature and the familiar, everyday in the form of the mail-box. It creates a domestic, cozy atmosphere that I feel like can appeal to everyone's nostalgia and homesickness.
— Shelby Rose (Blog Editor)
“Summer of ‘07” by Sofia Dean (p. 9)
Some pieces have the ability to make you feel as though you are reading about a lived experience of your own — a memory tucked away that isn’t yours but brought to life so beautifully that it feels like it is, and this piece does exactly that. It is filled with child-like wonder and beauty that transports you to the exact moment it describes.
“My caramel skin growing darker
as my friends’ cheeks are painted pink.”
are my favorite. They showcase how wonderfully the artist highlights the innocence of youth and how our perceptions of the world and ourselves change with time.
— Riddhi Setty (Editor in Chief)
“8 & 4” by Stephanie Mirah (p. 15)
I really enjoy the soft contrast of pastel palettes in this series. It’s comforting to imagine the artist spent the day at the same place, from 8 to 4, doing whatever they please but having a solid day. The perspective and landscape is both serene and ominous in a beautiful way.
— Rachel Burger (Art Editor)
“nomads” by Maxwell Laro (p. 16)
This work was so visually stunning to me when I first saw it — both the clarity that was able to be captured and the composition of the work are absolutely gorgeous. As an avid animal lover and conservationist, it's incredibly exciting to see a photo of these noble creatures in their true element and seemingly roaming free. To that point, the title "Nomads" is the cherry on top of this gorgeous work that encapsulates its essence.
— Katie Meyerson (Creative Director)
“First I have to learn in English” by Alexa Barnes (p. 18-19)
I am choosing this piece because I think it is such a beautiful depiction of both language and love and the intersection between the two. The writing style of this piece was like nothing I had read ever before and I really enjoyed the detailed descriptions of ASL.
— Katt McCann (Prose Editor)
“La Tierra Devastada” by Emma Southern (p. 26)
This piece is beautiful and a perfect representation of art's ability to transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries. The Spanish and English translation of this piece show a skilled use of technique and devices, as well as packing an emotional punch with its relevant and important theme.
— Sofia Dean (Poetry Editor)
“erika” by Olivia Schwalm (p. 40)
Something about this portrait feels acutely powerful. From the glow off their skin to the highlights of their jacket, this single frame truly captures a beautiful moment in time. The dark background sharply outlines the figure pointing beyond the frame and their face is filled with a wonder that fills the photograph. As with many creative works, I find myself wanting to know more; but even without answers, I admire this piece greatly.
— Sheer Figman (Editor in Chief)
“Stacked in Color” by Shea Neary (p. 60)
I chose this piece because the subjects themselves are beautiful people but also because the composition is so well done. The top and bottom of the frame with balanced gray space and the mirror effect of the subjects first has my mind going "huh?" and then going "wow." If it wasn't for Covid, I would definitely be asking the artist to take my graduation photos!!
— Stephanie Mirah (Copy Editor)
“Thoughts from Late Summer” by Emma Lovato (p. 62)
I love this piece in it’s entirety and the way it has me longing for something that I haven’t even experienced. But most of all I love it for it’s ending lines.
— Gracie Donovan (Blog Editor)
“To Jean, Best of Luck — The Girls” by Annie Przypyszny (p. 67)
The emotional depth of this piece's subtle narrative is captivating and intense. It spares no humanity; every observation is full with reverent humanity — and with clarity and understanding.
— Shannon Sakosits (Poetry Editor)
“Blue Sunrise II” by James Kwon (p. 95)
The deep blues of this photo evoke so much emotion, and transport me to the rare times that I wake up with the sun, allowing all of the colors to seep over me. I love the warped perspective the artist takes in this photo; the more I look at this photo the more surreal it feels.
— Kait Caffrey (Photo Editor)
“Missed Messages” by Shelby Rose (p. 104-105)
I really love the structure of this piece. Having it broken up really puts you into the shoes of the narrator, and lets you feel the heartbreak of what went unspoken in this relationship for so long — a feeling made all the more heartbreaking with the final line of the piece. Overall, an amazing piece of prose with a great message and excellent execution of the concept!
— Henri Brink (Prose Editor)
“and soon” by Riddhi Setty (p. 106)
What struck out to me so clearly after reading "and soon" was how much I wished that I wrote it. In my eyes, it's a perfect poem that leaves a lasting impression on whoever reads it. I felt this poem on every level. Loving someone so much through the winter and the hard times. Being selfish enough to take up space, and being selfless enough to curl up in comparison. This poem is the perfect encapsulation of what it means to endure the ebb and flow of love, and the hope that "and soon" it will work out.
— Emma Lovato (Creative Director)
“Love Poem” by Annie Przypyszny (p. 113)
The passage of time is terrifying, but knowing we have someone there we will share it with makes it sweeter. This poem captures the feeling of knowing you will love someone forever, that they will always be in your life, "I'll love you madly, as always" just gets me every time. It's so tender and loving.
— Emily Coneybeare (Event Coordinator)
“flowers i gave my mom” by Grace Collins (p. 120)
This piece gives me warm, happy feelings. There’s love in the colors. And I’m a slut for flowers.
— Annie Przypyszny (Art Editor)