Students reminisce on “:lexicon” experience

Courtesy of Sarah Quinn

By: Sean Ray | The Duquesne Duke

Duquesne :lexicon has reared its artistic head once more and is now accepting submissions for its spring release (deadline Feb. 8).

Everything from artwork, poetry, photography and short stories will be featured. All of them are contributed by students around campus. Photographer Sarah Quinn and poet Jordan Campbell are two such contributors who are attempting to get their work featured this year.

Campbell said that he writes mainly free form poetry that attempts to capture regular day-by-day life experiences rather than anything extraordinary. What is extraordinary, however, is how he got interested in poetry.

“Honestly, laziness,” Campbell said when asked how he became a poet. “I started with fiction and I got really lazy. I used to write fantasy and science fiction.”
Quinn, on the other hand, says that she attempts to photograph people, specializing in portrait style photographs.


Sitting here in my black shirt,

buttoned to the
top, I’m sweating
profusely. Despite
the hurt, I
keep it buttoned up.
My throat is
raw, I have this
cough, I smoke
a cig, I suck
on drops.
My body sits
and withers,
a constant headache,
an arthritic throne,

and sitting here in my black shirt, I
smile ‘cause black
disguises dirt, and I
think I’m on the verge
of seizing.

“I don’t think you can ever really capture one person with a photo,” Quinn said. “I just want to capture that one moment.”

She listed Dwayne Wright and Bill Cunningham as major influences on her style, the two both being portrait photographers. Campbell, however, says he takes more inspiration from life experiences. A far cry from the fiction stories he attempted to write, he instead finds writing about the mundane more interesting and inspiring to write about.

Both artists are seasoned :lexicon contributors, Campbell having submitted poems “on and off again for the past two years” all of which have been published. Quinn stated that she definitely submitted last fall, with two other submissions before which she couldn’t recall when they were submitted.

Both offered words of wisdom to anyone who may be too nervous to submit to the :lexicon.

“You’re your own worst critic,” Quinn said. “The worst they can say is ‘no’ and then you can just try again next year.”

Courtesy of Sarah Quinn
Courtesy of Sarah Quinn

Campbell offered similar advice, stating that potential contributors should not worry about criticism too much.

“If you are proud of your work in any way, submit,” Campbell said. “The literary community around here is awesome. Nobody judges anybody for their work.”
When asked what they planned to do with their skills, Quinn said she would like to keep photography as just a hobby.

“I never want to make it my main source of income because I don’t want it to have that responsibility. I like for it to be something fun for me to do.” Quinn said.
Campbell, however, has loftier goals.

“I would like to be published and have my own anthology or something like that, a book of poems,” he said. “I would like to work for a publisher that has something to do with poetry.”

In either case, both encouraged submitting to :lexicon, Quinn lamenting the fact that the magazine does not receive very many submissions.

Submissions to the :lexicon can be sent to chief editor Katie Auwaerter at Submissions are being accepted until February 8th.