Lighted Corners (Review)
Reviewed by Sarah Bailey, Amara Keizer-Quintanilla, Lindsey Zakula, Katie Valenta, LeAnn Hennis, Samantha Sawyer, Marisa Lafontaine, Catherine Murphy, and Gustavo Padron, University of Central Florida
Lighted Corners is a student-run literary journal at Mount St. Mary’s University that publishes various forms of student writings and visual art pieces. With an engaging mix of fantasy and reality, it hosts all kinds of worlds for its readers to get lost in. The opening cover is an art piece entitled “Wilted”by Natalie Meador. Its muted pastel colors and dripping lines aptly fit the theme of the 2020 edition shown to the reader on its first page: Cycles. The color scheme also draws the eyes to the title and subheadings of the cover page, presenting its information clearly and pleasingly. The use of brown in particular highlights this important information while setting the naturalistic tone of the pages to come.
The structure of Lighted Corners is intuitive and easy-to-follow. The editor’s note gives an excellent backstory that contextualizes the theme of Cycles, so that the readers can understand how this theme applies to each story. The table of contents is organized by the genres of Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Visual Art, Photography, and Earthworks, so that readers can look for the kind of piece they want to read. This coincides with the layout in the body of the magazine, which breaks the theme down into three categories: wither, decay, and growth. Each section heading page, as well as the table of contents, utilizes the same font and monochromatic versions of the artwork that appear on the title page; the artwork also repeats in a ribbon along the bottom of every page throughout the magazine. Lighted Corners seems to attract the best creators from every genre, including the inventive Earthworks genre which captures temporary sculptures created from only natural elements.
The editors of this magazine do an expert job of organizing the stories, poems, and essays with visual art, photography, and “earthworks” to highlight the best of their talented contributors. A story from the fiction section, titled “The Belly of the Beast” by Therese Villarubia, immediately drew us in with its captivating hook. The story unfolds with a quick, yet vivid description, expressing, “It was dark inside the wolf.” Those six little words evoke endless curiosity, causing readers to navigate deeper into the claustrophobic image of the wet, gurgling innards of a wolf. Offering a darkened fable-like style, Villarubia leads her readers on an unnerving journey, deviating from the safe pathway to Grandma’s house.
Another piece we found to be thought-provoking and emotionally intriguing was “A Mother’s Plea” by Conor Hoffman. Its plot tackles realistic issues such as loss, grief, revenge, and accepting the past. We admire how its two main characters communicate with one another, despite the overarching conflict wedged between them. Its impressive characterization, the writer’s attention to these contrasting characters, and the emotional plotline is even more awe-inspiring.
Flip to any page in this magazine and you don’t know quite what you’ll find, except exceptional work from all parties involved. Lighted Corners knows its strength is not only in its variety, and expressively organized structure, but also its quality. It keeps readers on their toes. From dystopic genre work to more familiar tales of heartbreak, you’ll find a fit for every emotion you want to feel.