SIR celebrates twentieth anniversary


Senior English major Joanna Miller read three poems at the Snow Island Review reading at Aroma Underground on April 5. These works were accepted to be published in the next issue of the journal.

Josh Knight, Staff Writer

Snow Island Review recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a biannual literary reading for students about to be published in the journal. The reading also honored Dr. Ken Autrey, a retiring Professor of English at Francis Marion University.

The reading took place at Aroma Underground on Tuesday, April 5, and roughly fifty students attended the event.

Snow Island Review is FMU’s student-led literary journal. It accepts poetry, fiction, non-fiction, critical essays and visual artwork by students. Submitted works are reviewed by the Snow Island committee, which consists of peer readers and one faculty liaison, and a handful of those works are accepted and published in the journal.

The event began with a reading of a few of the works which will be published in the upcoming issue in September. The readers included Zachary Nicholas, Alicia Coleman, David Doughty, Kaitlyn Grooms, Carissa Fazio, Ronald Flowers, Tierriah Robinson, Stephon Birch and Joanna Miller.

Dr. Jon Tuttle, the current faculty liaison to Snow Island Review, was pleased with the outcome of the event.

“The Snow Island Review event reminded us again of the great wealth of talent we have here at FMU, and I was particularly impressed with the turnout, which was standing room only,” Tuttle said. “Some of the material was heartbreaking, some hilarious, and the feeling in the air was precisely what it should have been: friends and colleagues celebrating creativity and good company.”

After the students read their selected works, Dr. Ken Autrey took the stage and read a few of his poems, several of which have been published in various poetry mediums. Jessica Upchurch, senior editor of “The Snow Island Review,” said that Autrey truly deserved the recognition, which Tuttle jokingly called “Audrey-palooza.”

“Dr. Autrey has logged a total of 22 years of service to the FMU English Department and accomplished many things, including chairing the Freshman English Writing Program and publishing numerous article and stories,” Upchurch said. “As a once-student of his, I can say that he brings a warm and supportive presence to the department.”

Autrey read a wide range of poems from his repertoire, including several poems from his recently published book of poetry, “Pilgrims,” and also a poem written for the occasion, entitled “Last Lines.” In the poem, Autrey combined famous “last lines” from poems and novels with humor and rapping.

“What was my inspiration for the poem?” Autrey said. “Forty years teaching English and listening to boring poetry – trying to teach boring poetry. And, of course, all the time I spend listening to rap.”

After reading several of his poems, Autrey received a standing ovation from the students and faculty in attendance.

The night concluded with Natalie Mahaffey, FMU Instructor of English who served as Snow Island editor when she was an undergraduate, taking the stage and recognizing Jessica Upchurch, a graduating senior, for the work she has done as the current editor of Snow Island Review.

Mahaffey also introduced next semester’s editor, Staci Poston, a senior English major.

Tuttle also recognized Upchurch’s work as editor over the past year.

“I should add that Jessica Upchurch has been a terrific editor and has such a great presence as an emcee,” Tuttle said. “We’re all going to miss her.  Actually, we’re going to make her come back for future readings.  Bet she will, too.”

The upcoming issue of Snow Island Review will include works by Alyssa Hardy, Zach Nicholas, Joanna Miller, David Doughty, Aaron Crouse, Lauren Coleman, Kelly M. Gaskins, Alicia Coleman, Tierriah Robinson, Harrison Taylor, Ron Flowers, Breeze Allen, Stephon Birch, Kaitlyn Grooms, Jonathan D. Smith, Misty J. Williams, Ashley Randolph, Carissa Fazio, J.M.V. Hardy, Stephanie Smith and Kimberly A. Keith.