Submissions Deadline and Reading Night Are a Thing of Tomorrow

If you have a piece of prose or poetry that you would like published, you are just in time to submit to Touchstones this semester as the deadline is tomorrow, Feb 11. And don't worry about choosing among the pieces you have, because you are allowed to submit as many as you want. Who knows, you might just get something published. What could you lose? 

One unique thing about our journal is that once we publish your piece, we give the rights and ownership back to you, so you may submit it and publish it again to another journal. What's also cool is that if we accept your piece, we will workshop it with you like crazy, giving you the chance to make it ooze amazing, remarkable David-Bowie-magic-dancing effect and meaning. After publishing with us, you're poised to go higher. Why not send it to The New Yorker, Ploughshares, or Tin House. 

Also, whether or not you submit, all Utah Valley University students are invited to our open reading night, which is the day after submissions: Friday the 12th. The night works like this: each piece is read through by at least three real regular Utah Valley University students who will each evaluate the piece and determine whether they believe it is Touchstones worthy. After every piece has been read by three people, we have a discussion about them. Joining us on this night gives you experience with all types of prose and poetry that have been written at all types of skill levels. It gives you the chance to see what kind of writing really stands out, and why.  Your writing can't avoid improving after a night like reading night. And, tons of professors will give you extra-credit just for attending. You should ask if yours will. Maybe we'll see you there. 

Justin Duckwitz

Touchstones PR Manager

Words Like Monuments

      “The aim of the poet and the poetry is finally to be of service, to ply the effort of the individual work into the larger work of the community as a whole.”

     -Seamus Heaney, writing about Yeats


         Though my personal affinity has always been for poetry, I would suggest that this quote could apply to anyone who works creatively. Touchstones has, more than anything, shown me the valuable service that creative people can provide. They can tell us who we are, where we are, where we’re going, and where we’ve been. That is what makes artists and, more importantly, art so valuable. Touchstones is not about individuals flexing their creative muscles or showboating their talents. Touchstones is about all of us, together, at once, saying “This is who we were” to whoever might care.


         When we sit down to write, to sculpt, to paint, to draw, or to sing, we can do it with the intention of showing off our talents and exorcising that which torments us, but it’s much more satisfying to make something for somebody else. It’s much more worthwhile to invent an animal and then send it down a hallway full of strangers. Without the artist there, who will the animal brush up against and sniff? Who will run their fingers through its fur? Who will find that, if they listen, they can understand its every bark and howl? Who will it bite? Who will look into its eyes and, instead of seeing the artist lurking inside, waving for attention, see their own reflection but in a new way that is unexpected and sublime?

        There are those artists that are so good at giving us what we need that we elevate them to celebrity status and call them heroes, electing them to speak for us and show us the way through the dark. But we all have at least one poem or story or painting that has, by itself, followed us home. We remember these far longer than the people who crafted them. When something is created, the creator is just an incidental part of the process. What really matters is the creation and what it does to the people who find it.

          To me, Touchstones is a community of creative people working together to show us who we are. Touchstones is a place for art and writing that helps us identify and understand ourselves.

      I want to sign off with a line from Josh Ritter’s ballad “Bone of Song.” 

“I’ll remember your song - but I’ll forget your name.”


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Looking into the Spring

           Passing through each semester, we swing from one vine to the next. As we’re in the down stroke of spring, we anticipate the momentous journey that the staff and student body are about to embark on. Last fall, the Touchstones journal staff made a lot of progress which we want to continue with this spring issue.

            Last semester, Jordan Freytag lead as Editor-in-Chief and helped us connect as a creative writing staff. The fall 2015 issue brought the creative writing community together at UVU. Now, as Editor-in-Chief for the spring issue I can say we’re more excited than ever considering how far we’ve come as a journal. We plan to keep building the strong sense of community, as well as reaching out to new writers and artists. We want to urge and welcome the student body to submit their creative works and be a part of the journal.

            We’ve updated the Touchstones website and will actively post on our blog each week this semester. Every member of our editing staff will have a chance to write and post about their thoughts. We invite you to be involved in our crafted literary journal, whether it be submitting your prose, poetry, creative nonfiction, or art of any medium. If anyone is interested in a valuable experience as a writer and editor, then come to reading night where you can help vote for the published pieces. Anyone who is willing to come help at reading night will be credited for their work in the journal and will also be considered for future staff positions. Submission deadlines for writing is Feb.11th by 11:59 pm. Reading night is Feb.12th in room 206a in the SC building at 6:00 pm. Art submissions are due by Feb.25th by 11:59 pm.

We look forward to your creative work and hope to see you at reading night.


Caitlin LaVange.

Editor-in-Chief, Touchstones