After her work as president of UCA’s PRISM alliance for two years, senior Taylor Brady decided it was time for change.
She left the alliance in good hands and assumed the role as editor-in-chief of UCA’s Vortex Magazine of Art and Literature.
Brady, a creative writing major, is planning a revamp for the Vortex that she said includes a much-needed resurgence of art in the publication and a focus on gaining pubic recognition.
“We had our first reading and we had over 45 people sign in, which is a shocking amount of people at a poetry reading,” Brady said. “I’m just trying to get numbers and more people involved.”
Her involvement with the Vortex resulted in a prime opportunity when she attended the AWP Conference & Bookfair in Minneapolis last spring.
“It was fantastic,” Brady said. “That’s something I’ve wanted to go to for four years. It’s the biggest writer’s conference in North America, so there were like 13,000 people there. We got to sit in on panels and learn more about publishing to bring back to UCA and somehow positively affect the Vortex.”
The conference also offered Brady a chance to meet her favorite author, Eileen Myles.
“I went to tons of feminist poetry panels, and my favorite author signed my book,” Brady said, “She’s my favorite poet and I’ve loved her ever since I was in the ninth grade.”
Poetry is an intrinsic passion for Brady, and she knew it was exactly what she wanted to do with her life from a young age.
“When I was in kindergarten, we had to do a time capsule,” Brady said. “On mine I wrote: ‘I’m going to be a writer,’ and it’s held true. I dabbled in political science, just because I thought ‘How am I going to make a living as a poet,’ but now I don’t care. I couldn’t stay away.”
Brady tackles women’s issues, writer’s issues and literary communities in the South in her poetry.
“I’ve always been a poet,” Brady said. “I’ve been actively writing poetry and kept all of my poetry since the fifth grade. I try to at least write a poem every day. I do lyric prose poetry and I focus a lot on, not really feminism, but being a woman.”
Despite a difficult academic load, Brady finds time to engage in eclectic hobbies including playing the mandolin and ukulele, knitting and homebrewing.
“I really like beer and I have a beer journal,” Brady said. “Homebrewing is fun, and that’s something I’m really into. I’m starting my first batch, so hopefully in six weeks, I’ll have 54 bottles of a good brown ale.”
Graduate school is on the horizon for Brady, as she plans to attend a program outside Arkansas to acquire her master’s degree. She intends to keep publishing and, like all budding artists, to learn from her rejections.
“The publishing game is difficult,” Brady said. “All the magazines I submit to are very well-known. So most of the people getting published there already have their M.F.A.s or are significantly older than myself. I’ve submitted to over 50 publications, and I’ve gotten some really nice rejections.”
From managing a literary magazine to constantly perfecting her own poetry, Brady has a lot on her plate. She acknowledges that her life is sometimes stressful; however, she insists on her contentment in pursing her passion.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
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