As a creative writing major, Jenna Rhodes of Kersey is off to a successful start, with one of her poems selected from among more than 5,000 submissions for publication in the 2011 edition of The Apprentice Writer literary magazine.
Now in its 29th year, The Apprentice Writer was created by Gary Fincke, professor of English and creative writing and director of the Writers’ Institute at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. The magazine publishes some 70 poems, stories, personal essays, photographs and works of art by high school students from a 20-state area.
Fincke oversees editorial decisions, and the publication is edited in part by Susquehanna writing students. Each year, 11,000 copies of the magazine are printed and distributed to 3,200 secondary schools.
"I always felt that the great thing about poetry is that the reader can always make it their own, and connect to it personally [even if their interpretation isn't what the author necessarily had in mind]," Rhodes said.
Rhodes will be a freshman at Susquehanna University and is a 2011 graduate of St. Marys Area High School. She is the daughter of Laura Rhodes.
While the poem "Majorica Pearls" only took Rhodes a few minutes to jot down, she spent a few weeks doing minor editing on it with the assistance of her teacher, Nancy Gerber.
"I'm not the type to start writing a poem and go back to it. I like to have it almost complete before I write it down on paper," Rhodes said.
The subject of her poem is based on her feeling of not being feminine enough in regard to her body type.
"I always compared my body to that of an 11-year-old boy-- straight and harsh. And how I started to cover my body with feminine dress (pink and lace and such) and I started to feel 'girly,' but that when I took off those clothes I still felt the same about how I looked," she said.
It was as a freshman that Rhodes became interested in writing poetry for class assignments during Bill Granche's class.
She explained that instead of reading traditional Edgar Allan Poe pieces, the class studied non-traditional authors.
"I really started to write and love poetry after a school trip with four other students and Mr. Granche to the Dodge Poetry Festival in N.J., where we got to see many well-known authors explain their work and read," Rhodes said.
During her junior year, Rhodes started writing more intensely.
She entered her poem for the magazine in late February and was notified that she had been chosen during the second week of May.