The student magazine PRODUCT hosted a launch party Jan. 26 at Southern Prohibition Brewery. Students who were accepted into the magazine read their entries aloud for the attendees.
PRODUCT allows undergraduate, graduate and doctorate students at Southern Miss the chance to share their poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama and graphic art with their peers.
Students submitted their work to four categories: prose, poetry, drama and art. One student from each section was awarded a cash price.
Lillie Busch won in the prose section. Corinne Dekkers won in the poetry section. Cayson Miles won in the drama section, and Maggie Matteson won in the art section.
Senior English licensure major Jaq Jefcoat hosted the event. Jefcoat said they got involved with PRODUCT after Adam Clay, Ph.D., encouraged them to enroll for the intercession to be more involved in learning about publishing.
“I found out about PRODUCT back in the Spring of 2019 when I took Dr. Clay’s poetry writing class,” Jefcoat said. “I had one of my trans poems published in Issue 33.”
Clay is an assistant professor of English and director of the Center for Writers.
“I think it is a good idea for students to submit work that’s been critiqued and discussed in any one of our creative writing workshops,” Clay said.
Jefcoat said they strongly suggest people writing and submitting works of art and photography for PRODUCT’s future issues.
“I also think it is a place to submit work outside of one’s main genre,” Clay said. “A fiction writer might try submitting a poem and a poet might try submitting a story.”
Clay said PRODUCT is a venue that rewards risk-taking and experimentation.
“It’s all anonymous submissions, so each piece is judged for itself,” Jefcoat said. “There are diverse ranges of submissions, and I enjoyed seeing them.”
Senior English major Cherish Triplett said she heard about PRODUCT from a professor who encouraged her to submit her work. Triplett submitted poems but did not think anything would come from it.
“I submitted about five poems and out of those they picked one I wrote about my mom,” Triplett said. “It was extremely shocking to me because that was something I wrote just to write something.”
Triplett said since it was her last year at Southern Miss she decided to put out more work. After a year of being silent, Triplett felt like she had something to say and something to prove to herself about her writing.
“It really has inspired me to be heard as a young black person from the South,” Triplett said.
Triplett said she feels proud of herself after reading her work aloud.
“Once I am done, I am proud of myself,” Triplett said. “Getting in front of a big proud and sharing personal information is nerve-wracking.”
Jefcoat said they were scared when they were submitting their poetry at first. “Having confidence in your piece is a plus,” Jefcoat said. “At the end of the day, you are confident to put your work out there and that is an amazing feat for anyone.”
Triplett said you cannot let fear stop you from putting yourself out there.
“At the end of the day, this is for you,” Triplett said. “Screw getting picked or winning anything, at least you put a step forward to further your goal.”
The winning entries and past issues can be found at https://productmag.squarespace.com.