student writing in literature magazine

Groundswell, UB’s Art & Lit Magazine, Celebrates Student Voices in New Issue

By Randy Laist, chair of the English department

A dying dog. A falling leaf. Your own image in the mirror.

The pain of injustice. The headache that won’t go away. The infinite mysteries of time itself.

These are only a handful of the memorable images and powerful ideas expressed in the work of student writers and artists in the recently published 2024 edition of Groundswell, UB’s literature and art magazine. Groundswell celebrates and amplifies the perspectives of UB students in all their emotional complexity.

The dramatic range of the pieces collected in this issue swings from Hillary Bejar’s heartbroken lamentations to Angelise Melendez’s search for purpose; from Gabrielle Whyte’s critique of racial and gender-based stereotypes to Mykala Brown’s anthem to Black female empowerment; and from Nyla Blackmon’s poignant longing to Nova Staruk’s playful ode to synesthesia. The written pieces are accompanied by Emily Ortiz’s captivating, hallucinatory paintings. Whatever moves you, whatever you feel passionately about, there is something in Groundswell that will resonate with you. As a collection, the 2024 issue reflects the diversity of UB’s student body and the dynamic vitality of the campus culture.

The new issue of Groundswell carries on a UB tradition that goes back many decades. UB has published a literary magazine since at least 1948, when it was called The Helicon. In the 1960s, the magazine was reinvented as The Laurel Review. Its name was changed again to Anagnorisis in 1974, and it finally became Groundswell in 1977 under the supervision of Dick Allen, a UB English professor who would become Connecticut’s poet laureate.

Over the years, UB students who published their work in these literary magazines have gone on to become successful writers and poets. A review of a 1974 issue of Anagnorisis in the student newspaper observed that “The poetry presented in the publication is consistently good, yet the works of Jeffrey Skinner and David Leff stand out as better than the average.” Today, Jeffrey Skinner is an esteemed poet, writer, and professor, and David Leff, recently deceased, was recognized as “one of the most interesting writers working in New England.”

Doug Swift’s early poems, “Snowstorm Following Stroke” and “The Old Road,” can be found in a 1986 edition of Groundswell. Today, Swift is a writer and professor whose website includes a shoutout to his alma mater: “At the University of Bridgeport, I would find that storytelling was valued, in cinema, in creative writing, and I watched and I read and I created as much as I could.” Norah Pollard and Arlene Swift Jones are two other successful poets who honed their craft in the pages of past issues of UB’s literary magazine.

Now, the poets of the future are making their voices heard through these same pages. Abigail Giron Marroquin, a junior majoring in English, contributed a powerful short story about her experiences as a veterinary technician assistant. She describes how writing this story allowed her to express her feelings honestly: “People often judge negative emotions, putting them in a category of good or bad. To me, emotions just ‘are.’ They are meant to exist and be felt.” She explains that “writing is a good way to express and process emotions.”

Yemarah Dallas is also a junior majoring in English, and her powerful poem, “Crash,” ends Groundswell ’24 on a fiery note. She explains, “I like to write because it gives me a sense of control. Writing is the way I digest the world.”

While working through their own thoughts and feelings, the student artists represented in the latest issue of Groundswell have given us the gift of their insight, wisdom, and eloquence. At the same time, they carry on a cherished UB tradition, using their words and ideas to build a bridge from past achievements into the unwritten landscape of the future.

For an inside look into the diverse experiences of UB students, click here to read and view their creative endeavors.