New to CU: Vermilion’s Flash Issues

Vermilion, Catholic University’s literary magazine for creative writing and the arts, is well into its second semester of existence with the second official issue slated to come out this spring. A new development for the magazine, however, is the creation of Flash Issues.

For the full editions of the magazine, submissions are only open to those of the Catholic U community. We at Vermilion, however, are invested in the literary and artistic communities found all across the world. In the words of our mission statement, “Vermilion is devoted to promoting creativity, community, and craftsmanship in the arts.” This dedication extends beyond just those connected to Catholic U.

In pursuit of this goal, we have created our “Flash Issues,” which are open to submission from anyone! Every two weeks, a writing prompt goes up on our website and submissions in response to this prompt are open to anyone. The pieces then get reviewed and selected submissions are then put in a "Flash Issue" that gets published on our website.

As Associate Editor, I began concocting the idea for a writing prompts page before Vermilion even had a website, and seeing this germ of an idea grow has been a delightful and humbling experience. The contests initially mirrored our regular issues, only being open to those in the Catholic U community. Then, this semester, we created the “Flash Issues” and opened the contests up to the literary community at large.

The engagement we have seen with these writing contests since then has been astounding. I am often one to scoff at people who say, “We never in our wildest dreams imagined this would happen.” Really? Even in your wildest dreams? But I truly never could have imagined that with for our first issue of the semester we would receive dozens and dozens of submissions from published authors all over the world, as well as high school students and stay-at-home mothers seeking outlets for their creative potential.

Flash Issue 5,” the inaugural open-call “Flash Issue,” centers around one prompt: “Write a poem about a color without using the name or the name of a shade of that color.” The caliber of the poetry we had the privilege of reading was incredibly high, and we are so proud of the pieces that were selected for publication. The pieces range from heartbreaking to desolate to delightful to simply lovely, with a diverse array of style, theme, culture, perspective, and form.

Please go check out our new “Flash Issues: Writing Prompts” page. It is a space to read showstopping pieces of creative writing, a sphere for inspiration (as you can still respond to the prompts even if you cannot submit for them), and an opportunity for publication outside of our regular issue.

To draw you in, here is an excerpt from one of our selected poems, “Traje de Luces” by Estlack Joseph William:

“and a babbling blob
built up on a brush
falling off Picasso's dot,
a shoe in for bruises
on the King of Rock's foot,
even stealing Sinatra's look.”

So, please, go explore this new page and a literal world of color. I hope that you are as astounded by the beauty as I am.

Caroline Morris (B.A. English ‘22)
Associate Editor/Features Editor, Vermilion