A Review of Sorts

gimme the sun

by Emily DeVincentis

Over the summer, I had periods when my writing became inconsistent and not quite like the style I wanted. During those times I filled the holes with books that I wanted to read. Usually, I only write stories or poems on dramatic or stunning events that I witness physically, because it keeps me connected to how I should feel. If nothing has happened in a while, I’ll try and read a book because it tends to inspire me.

During the summer, I read the book I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson. My sister had read it, and loved it so much that she had bought it, and because of that I decided to read it. This book is, summed up, about twins named Jude and Noah. They’re both artfully talented, and are connected in ways you think twins are. The story starts as Noah’s point of view when the twins are thirteen, and when Jude tells the story, they are sixteen. Throughout the book the time period switches back and forth, weaving their lives together and you get a beautiful picture on what has happened between those 3 years. (no spoilers)

At first I was entranced by the way the author wrote Noah’s point of view. He thinks in pictures, so every emotion or event is said in these clever sentences on how he would draw them/pictured them. (Self Portrait: A Window Flies Open in My Chest) My sister told me that first about the book, and I suggested to her that she draw every picture he mentions. When I think of the pictures, I think of my sister’s drawings.

But then the story moved to Jude’s point of view. I didn’t think I would have liked it. But then I suddenly fell in love with the storyline, instead of the way the author had written poetically. It is so simple, and I was moved that something this precious and yet so broken hit home so quickly for me. Jude, unlike her brother, sculpts instead of painting, and I could feel the emotion she put into the work the author described as if it was my own marble piece.

In conclusion, this book is a work of art, and as I wrote this I re-read little bits of it, and the same feelings are still there: love, sadness, the feeling of a feeling. This book is wonderful, magical, and I suggest it to anyone who can read and is mature enough to understand things. Even now, I need to read it again and I want the story to be real, to meet the characters. I’ve clung so hard to this book, and whenever I need inspiration I know where to look. Remember, when you’ve nothing to do, or you’re stuck on inspiration, pick up a book and read for a while. It’ll bring you to another place.

(Family Portrait: And Then We All Blew Away)

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Like a Child

by David Hurtado

What does it mean to be an artist? The ability to create shouldn’t be limited to talented painters, poets and musicians. It is something for those looking to self-express, regardless of skill level. There is an age where every child experimenting with colors and lines decides that their art doesn’t conform to an artistic norm set by a teacher or project. An age where nonsense words in poetry are no longer practical. The understanding of what is good or bad in the art world keeps us from creating for a fear of failure or incompetence. To be an artist is to create.

Art whether it be personal or public is for insight. It is a process of self-discovery, often through re-discovery. To remember that childlike fearlessness is imperative to create and express. As children our poems and words are bold and truthful. And in the words of Kanye West, “As artists, our responsibility is to the truth, because how else can history be documented? How else can our time be represented, this time that we have? Who’s gonna stand up and say, as the gentleman said earlier today, how it really is right now? Who’s gonna express that?”

In high school it is hard to fully express ourselves in the heavy atmosphere but to see students create despite that is a beautiful thing. To see that intrinsic goal to make art come alive is refreshing. The following images are pieces by Juan Diego’s fine artists. The techniques used to create these works hope to help us find that child that, crayon in hand, drew fearlessly and out of the lines.

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Found Poetry

By: Nina Fazzi

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What is found poetry? Why does the poetry need to be found? Who hides the poetry? Who finds it? Where? When? How? These questions most likely keep you up at night as you search your soul for explanations. Unfortunately, you won’t find any answers there, because they’re all on this blog.

Found poetry involves taking words and phrases from already established works, moving them around, and forming a brand new poem. The kind of found poetry that I am most familiar with are book pages that have been blacked out except for a handful of words. This creates a new meaning within an old meaning.

Some may say that altering a book in this way is disrespectful. Honestly, if the book isn’t rare, an antique, or somebody else’s prized possession, then it’s basically just a bunch of paper. We’ve reached an age where there are enough copies of books in the world that altering one won’t erase its enclosed meaning from existence.

A couple months ago, Debbie and I started going to the “free books” table at the library and rearranging the books to make sentences out of the titles. Eventually we got the idea of writing down our work and trying to make poems out of it. Little did we know, this was a form of found poetry. Here is one of the poems we made:

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Poetry – and any other art form – isn’t limited to one format. It’s eccentrically beautiful. It’s beautifully eccentric. And for some, it’s sitting in a pile of biographies and X-Files books.

Meet The Board!

Want to know who is reading your work and discussing it? We thought we’d include a “Meet The Board” post to help you get a better picture of us. We’re a group of serious writers and readers who take themselves very seriously. If you’d like to be a part of TEPEYAC, stop by C209 Thursdays after school. We don’t bite, we promise!

Please be prepared to take in all the wisdom below.

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Name: Nina

Grade: 12th

Position on the board: Managing Editor

If you were stuck on an island with a rabbit, turtle, or llama which would you eat first and why?

The rabbit. I’d feel bad killing a turtle and the llama would probably defeat me in battle.

How would you describe yourself as a writer?

When it comes to poetry, I have no idea what I’m doing. When it comes to stories, I tend to take a normal thing, such as a person going to the supermarket or buying soda, and make it inexplicably life-threatening. The person realizes they’re in a lot of trouble, but they want to complete the menial task so badly that they’re willing to risk everything.

How did you come to join the literary magazine?

I joined the Poets’ Society a year ago, and the people in the Poets’ Society talked me into joining the literary magazine.

If you had to recite one poem to “poet” James Franco what would it be and why?

A poem that tries to do everything, but doesn’t quite make it.

How do you feel about books that are turned into movies?

If I decide to see the movie, I go in with the expectation that it won’t be as good as the book. That way I’m not as disappointed. A lot of books that are being turned into movies have a dystopian setting, which is getting pretty boring.

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Name: Michael Enda

Grade: 12th

Position on the board: Associate Editor

If you were stuck on an island with a rabbit, turtle, or llama which would you eat first and why?

While I was tempted to save the llama so it could become my trusty steed in my attempt at survival, much to my chagrin llamas cannot carry anyone larger than a child. With my dreams of becoming a llama rider extraordinaire being crushed I would have to say goodbye to my furry mammalian friend, then proceed to consume its flesh. Eventually I may wear its fur as a hat.

How would you describe yourself as a writer?

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How did you come to join the literary magazine?

I joined the creative writing class for an elective and when I was told that all I had to do to apply was write a paragraph I decided – why not?

If you had to recite one poem to “poet” James Franco what would it be and why?

James Franco is a poet now? This is a reverse, and less hood, version of Ice Cube. I think I may be in shock.

How do you feel about books that are turned into movies?

It depends on what kind of book is converted into a movie. If a book relies heavily on the reader’s imagination to create its atmosphere or setting – “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward(H.P Lovecraft),or “Johnny mnemonic” (William Gibson) – the movies tends to be neutered down to generic caricatures of their source material – The Resurrected/Shatterbrain (Dan O’Bannon), or  Johnny mnemonic (Robert Logo). Some movies prove my previous statement false – Blade Runner (Ridley Scott) which is based off of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Philip K. Dick) – these movies appear to only use the source material as inspiration to move on and create a story that is suited much better to its new medium. Books that don’t rely upon the reader for much creative input – Battle Royale (Koushun Takami) – don’t find much problems in being adapted onto the silver screen.

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Name: Debbie Landis

Grade: 12th

Position on the board: Fiction editor

If you were stuck on an island with a rabbit, turtle, or llama which would you eat first and why?

The llama has the most meat on it’s bones, but that meat would spoil assuming that I’m stranded on a tropical island. On the other hand the rabbit has vary little meat on it’s bones which means an additional animal is more likely to be killed. That leaves the turtle. It has a good amount of meat on it’s bones, and I could always pull a Jack Sparrow if I leave my furry friends behind to die.

How would you describe yourself as a writer?

Absolutely horrific.

How did you come to join the literary magazine?

One of the lit teachers confronted my friends and I and suggested that we try out a literary competition known as Quest. I haven’t been able to escape since then.

If you had to recite one poem to “poet” James Franco what would it be and why?

I would say “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost. It would give him a model of something to work towards.

How do you feel about books that are turned into movies?

I am always dissatisfied when I expect a movie to be similar to the book. I like to look at them as two separate versions of the same story. A great example is J.R.R. Tolken’s “The Hobbit”. I adore both the book and the movie, but the movie added many big events that weren’t even mentioned in the book. They are two different stories.

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Name: Emily DeVincentis

Grade: 10th Sophomore

Position on the board: Poetry editor

If you were stuck on an island with a rabbit, turtle, or llama which would you eat first and why?

I would eat the rabbit first because then I could keep the turtle as company, and the llama as warmth. I think that I would be able to bond spiritually with the llama, so when I take its fur for a blanket it’ll be cool with it, and I want to keep that kinda llama around.

How would you describe yourself as a writer?

Trying to be cool and descriptive, then failing.

How did you come to join the literary magazine?

I wanted to be in it, but I didn’t create a resume in time. Ms. Scenters kindly put me in that position anyway, and luck ensued. Too bad that’s not how getting a job works in the real world.

If you had to recite one poem to “poet” James Franco what would it be and why?

I would recite “Angelz,” one of his poems and see how he feels about it when someone recites it.

How do you feel about books that are turned into movies?

I feel that you have to read the book (or even listen to it) before you see the movie, because then your ideals and hopes for the movie will be shattered along with mine.

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Name: Brie Veltri

Grade: 10

Position on the board:  Arts Editor

If you were stuck on an island with a rabbit, turtle, or llama which would you eat first and why?

A rabbit because that sounds the most appetizing, I don’t know…. What kind of question is this?

How would you describe yourself as a writer?

I would say that I am a sporadic writer. I write when I can, when I have to,  and when I feel like it. I guess that may be considered kind of a bad thing, but oh well.

How did you come to join the literary magazine?

Well, that’s a fun question. To be honest, I don’t really know. All I remember was that I showed up one day to talk to Mrs. Scenters after school and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a  “lit mag” meeting (whatever that was) with her. Some how I found my way back there the next thursday, and the thursday after that and walla.  I was now on the editorial board of this lit mag that I didn’t even know existed until the first day I was drug to a meeting, so thanks Mrs. Scenters.  😉

If you had to recite one poem to “poet” James Franco what would it be and why?

I would recite “Lady Lazarus ” by Sylvia Plath because I love that poem and I think that he could learn a thing or two from Plath.

How do you feel about books that are turned into movies?

It depends on the movie/book. Sometimes I enjoy the movies and other times the filmmakers totally butcher the story the author has created, ultimately they destroying the plot and reconfigure all aspects of the book. Also I believe that you miss out on a lot of important details when making a book into a movie and a lot of the background and interesting info gets left out.

2015; A New Look at Literature

By Brie Veltri

Looking back on popular literature for high school students in 2014, some titles are on the top of everyone’s “must read” list. Some of these books include the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, The Maze Runner series, titles by John Green; including Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars, as well as many other titles. Many of these consist of romance, action, and adventure,  three things that never fail to capture the interest of readers everywhere. While many of these were popularized by being made into movies, I just wanted to give everyone a friendly reminder that the movies leave out a lot of details, thus as (almost) everyone says after reading the book then seeing the movie, “You should still read the book. It was so much better.” If you haven’t read these book, then it’s not too late to do so. I invite you to add them to the top of your “to read” list along with many other new books said to be “all the rage” of 2015.

According to goodreads.com and an article published by macmillanlibrary.com here is a short list of books that promises to wow teen readers everywere in the coming year.

 

ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers

FEUDS by Avery Hastings (The Feuds Series #1)

BEING AUDREY HEPBURN by Mitchell Kriegman

SWAY by Kat Spears

PARTY GAMES by R.L. Stine (Fear Street series)

THE GOOD SISTER by Jamie Kain

MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME, edited by Stephanie Perkin

LOOP by Karen Akins

ETERNAL by C.C. Hunter (Shadow Falls After Dark #2)

RENEGADE by Kerry Wilkinson (The Silver Blackthorne Trilogy #2)

DISGRUNTLED by Asali Solomon

Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2)

An Ember in the Ashes

Vanishing Girls

The Last Time We Say Goodbye

Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1)

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

Untitled (Throne of Glass, #4)

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.1)

 

If you are interested in new titles, looking for a good book to read, and/or reviews on books visit http://www.goodreads.com/  and http://www.macmillanlibrary.com/2014/10/13/books-for-teens-2015-its-all-the-rage/


Comment below your favorite books and/or any new books that you are excited to read!

December’s Featured Writer

By: Michael Enda

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To kick off Tepeyac’s featured writer of the month I talked to Hayley Smihula about her poetry submission “Doors,” 

Waiting for her, imprisoned in a

four door Honda Odyssey placed

northeast of a shopping center’s

entrance, where sliding doors inhale

people, never exhaling. Praying –

hands, twisted cables tossed carelessly

in back of forgotten drawers. Praying

for sliding doors to breathe, to spit

her onto yellow lined black asphalt, to

end the waiting of minivans perched

under parking lot lights. Waiting is

bleeding lips, dripping down crippled

jaws, red drops converging on vinyl

seats. Passenger side still vacant, lips

scabbed, skin crusted, soggy fingers

cramped – sliding doors still inseparable

magnets, northeast minivan still parked. 

which later was cut down to this.

In A Four Door Honda Odyssey Parked In 

The North Parking Lot

Waiting is bleeding 

lips, dripping down 

crippled jaws, red 

drops converging on 

vinyl seats, passenger 

side still vacant, lips 

scabbed, skin crusted, soggy 

fingers cramped, sliding 

doors still inseparable 

magnets, north lot 

minivan still parked. 

During an exercise in her Creative Writing class, Hayley expanded on Kevin Prufer’s poem “National Anthem.” Many of the ideas and aesthetic of her poem was drawn from Prufer’s original work, while still adding some of her own life, such as the mention of a four door Honda Odyssey.

While discussing the creation of the poem, Hayley revealed that her favorite part of her original submission was the phrase “Praying – / hands, twisted cables tossed carelessly/ in back of forgotten drawers.” She said that she favored this image because of how much time she spent on it. Apparently during the creation of the piece, this line went through three or four iterations before she was finally happy with it. All that being said, she also claimed that after it was done, this little phrase was the only part of the first half that really worked with her.

The astute of you readers may have noticed that Hayley’s favorite part sadly didn’t make its way into the second revision; in fact many of you probably noticed that much of the first poem didn’t make it to the second. Her gut reaction to the rather intensive edits was along the lines of “Oh yeah, sure, just cut half of my piece.” But she told me that after her initial response, she realized that the revisions really did help strengthen her piece. According to her, by cutting out the parts that even she recognized were weak, it allowed the strongest parts to shine. Even though her favorite part of her piece was cut out she said that overall she was very pleased with the final product. She said that the editorial board (which I am on, no big deal) did a great job editing the piece, making changes she had never thought to make.

In fact, she said the whole process of editing was stress free and easy. After receiving her poem back from the editing board, she mentioned it took her less than an hour before she finished fixing up the poem for resubmission.

Welcome!

By: Nina Fazzi

Welcome to the official blog for Tepeyac, Juan Diego Catholic High School’s literary magazine!

Expect to see more posts written by various members of our lovely editorial board. We plan to showcase the work of student writers and artists, both on this blog and in the annual magazine. This is the best blog that humanity will ever witness. You might disagree, but consider this real* definition I got out of a dictionary:

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If you have a work you’re thinking about submitting, but you’re waiting for a sign of some sort, this is it. This is the sign. Submit it. Send poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or art to agatheringofroses@skaggscatholiccenter.org by March 31st.


* = fake