Students release latest issue of Contrast Literary Magazine

May 05, 2009

From a riveting account of one community’s struggle to regain its sense of identity in the wake of unthinkable tragedy, to a whimsical yarn detailing one professor’s odd pursuit of “a great mythic ape,” this year’s installment of McDaniel’s Contrast Literary Magazine is an exhibition of the varied and diverse talents of campus artists, poets, photographers and storytellers.

“For us, Contrast is all about creating a community in which writers of all shapes and sizes can find a place to fit,” co-editors Devon Brackbill ‘09 and Emily Taylor ‘09 write by way of introduction to this year’s collection of work. “We see Contrast as a reflection of this vibrant community.”

This year’s magazine, which has been in the works since the fall semester, is a 71-page volume, done in a Reader’s Digest format, that features the highly stylized design of student Emily Biondo ’09, an Art major with a concentration in graphic design who is heading to American University to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing.

“We decided to get out of her way and let her do what she does best,” says Brackbill, who graduates this month with a double major in English and Philosophy. “The design is very modern, with a rustic look. It’s very attractive.”

Free copies of the 2009 edition of Contrast can be picked up at the Information Desk in Decker College Center and will soon be available online. In the meantime, last year's issue can be read at

This year’s edition, which was previewed in a reception last week at Harrison House, includes 40 works and is titled, “Word Come to Life.”

Brackbill says the co-editors fielded more submissions from students than in previous years, and had to be more selective because of the volume.

Among those submissions was Laura Manos-Hey’s, “Before It Was ‘Ground Zero,’ It was a Beloved Home,” a stirring account of life in her Lower Manhattan neighborhood after the tragic events of 9/11.

“When the Towers fell, the foundation of everyday life for thousands of people fell too,” Manos-Hey writes. “In the days following the attacks, there was only one matter on the minds of the locals: getting back to normal. We wanted to regroup, to pull together not as a nation or a city, but as a neighborhood.”

In “How to Properly Engage in the Hunt of a Great Mythic Ape,” Max Robinson offers tongue-in-cheek directions for success with the seemingly straightforward advice such as:

“Finding and employing a local youth to carry supplies, perform rigorous manual labor and, of course, amuse the members of your hunting party with song and dance is a necessity for any expedition,” Robinson writes. “This may seem like an unnecessary expenditure, but this cheerful fellow will seem a bargain when in the midst of your journey and you find it is him and not yourself who has stepped in that patch of quicksand or fallen into the inescapable web of that ever-crafty rapscallion, the Peruvian Picnic Basket spider. Indeed, I myself always employ at least two such youths.”

This year’s Contrast student staff included editors-in-chief Devon Brackbill and Emily Taylor as well as design director Emily Biondo. The editorial board members were B. Jensen Toperzer, Edward Lasher, Emma Joyce, Jake Friedman, Jen Noel, Jess Bello, Kara Constantine, Kate Maloney, Kate Natishan, Max Robinson, and Sara Krome. Kate Dobson, professor of English, served as faculty adviser.