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BLAM chooses contest winners through student staff

Photo by Bryce Owen ’17 | Members of the BLAM literary committee select winners for the recent submission contest March 7. The BLAM editors and committee help select what makes the final edition and wins submission contests.

By Josh Spano ’18

Brophy Literary Arts Magazine (BLAM) hosts many contests around campus, but whether a piece makes it into the BLAM magazine at the end of the year it is all up for the student staff members to decide.

Once known as The Tower Literary Magazine, BLAM has been around since the 80s and is on its eighth of the new format

Currently the BLAM staff has 15 committed students and there are between six to seven editors within the staff who have their own sub-committees.

One of the faculty advisors, Mr. John Damaso ’97, describes how BLAM chooses the writing topics for the year:

“The topics are usually dictated by students’ interest as well as the editorial direction,” Mr. Damaso said. “The staff comes up with a theme and they usually build creative writing and art contests around that theme.”

Current managing editor of BLAM Ian Grey ’17 said that choosing the topics for BLAM is one of the most fun things to do.

“That’s one of the most fun things we do on BLAM,” Grey said. “We get up on the whiteboard and people start brainstorming what they think would be ideas that connect to our main theme for the year. “[BLAM also wants] ideas that would be interesting to Brophy students and that we could get people to write about in English class or just for fun.”

Typically, BLAM meets weekly on Monday’s at lunch to discuss submissions sent or what the next contest will be about.

BLAM normally hosts contests every month or two, in both creative writing and visual arts, where participants have chances to win prizes and be recognized in BLAM.

Once BLAM promotes their contests submissions are sent to BLAM@brophyprep.org where the submissions are reviewed by either the creative writing or visual art BLAM committees so they can choose a winner.

“They have each individually reviewed all the submissions and they get together and they not only discuss the work but apply a rubric they created for visual art and for writing,” Mr. Damaso said.

Grey said there is a rubric staff members use for decisions.

“[Pieces are] based on common structure, grammar, as well as stylistically and how well [the committees] liked it,” Grey said.

While there are around 300-600 art submissions and 75-150 creative writing submissions per year, only about 10 percent of all submissions make it into the BLAM magazine at the end of the year.

“Unfortunately there is a lot of great work that doesn’t get published. But we want those who are published to feel that it is a true honor,” Mr. Damaso said.