Issue Review: Catch (Fall 2017)

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Catch is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Program in Creative Writing at its very own Knox College by sharing and preserving art that thrives on their campus despite international and national political upheaval. As the oldest continuously published undergraduate literary magazine in the country, Catch wishes to pay tribute to Professor Robin Metz for playing an integral role in making the program as successful as it is today. Highlighted in the intro to the journal, this tribute sets the tone for the work to follow in the honoring of Metz: “his unshakable faith in the power of the arts, as well as his unshakable faith in his students, has made him an undeterrable force in his continued advocation for the arts, for his students.”

Completely student run, Catch strives to uphold the voices on their campus, many of who are witnessing some of the most extreme political crisisses of our living memories and yet continue to create art in the face of increasing oppression and violence. “In times of confusion, fear, and disintegration, listening to the voices of the oppressed becomes more important than all else. It is Catch’s duty to provide a platform for art to be shared on campus and, in doing, we aim to forge unwavering solidarity with the artists in our own community,” say Editors-in-Chief Ari Jindracek and Carly Miller.

Hitting the ground running, Catch’s volume 50, No. 1 does just this with their cover art titled “Scary Outside” by David Petrak. From the outside, the journal is seemingly nameless, excluding the spine, with no title filling the front cover. The lack of title to allude to the content in the journal leaves only the disassembled colors to speak for the art between its matted finish. No one conceptual image could do justice to the voices that are preserved within the pages, just as no one label could be placed upon the experiences of an entire student body.

The first piece to begin to form the tone of the journal is a short visually descriptive prose titled “Do Butterflies Think on Their Youth?” by Samuel Lisec. I found the placement of this work to be ideal, as it embodies the influence of art to capture a reader’s attention and the reflection of emerging into a changing social landscape. “I thought, is it always going to be like this? Or was I born at just the right time to witness the world in the throes of irrevocable change?” Many of the works to follow also comment on social upheaval with the high probability to continue dialogue through prose, poetry, script, art, and song.

One other piece that stands out to me is the musical score “Henry, My Boy” composed by Aidan Murphy. The song follows the arc of a father explaining to his son that he will grow up in an motherless home, but that he will never leave. I found the song to be an expansion of the voices heard throughout the journal as it is another story of unsettled footing to live upon. On top of this, the message of a caring father resonates with the undeniable gratitude Catch holds for Metz.

Through its content entirely consisting of original student work, Catch captures the voices of their campus in a well structured and articulate edition celebrating their fifty years of creative writing at Knox College.