By Shelby Brown–
Sarah Strickley is set to become the new editor of the English Department’s publication, “The Miracle Monocle,” this spring. “The Miracle Monocle” publishes a variety of writings from fiction to non-fiction, poetry and various artworks.
The publication was previously headed by former English professor Ryan Ridge. Ridge has since taken a teaching job at another university.
“I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of the journal— even if that only meant attending the launch of issues or enjoying the issues as they came into the world,” Strickley said.
Strickley will be faculty editor to both graduate and undergraduate student interns on the editorial staff.
“I believe we’ll also be inviting volunteers to serve on the staff this semester. My hope is to build an active and energized community of writers around the journal,” Strickley said.
Strickley is no stranger to the literary world. She served on the editorial staffs of such publications as The Iowa Review, Barrelhouse and Quarter After Eight.
Strickley also has a novel near being published.
“I finally found my narrative line and wrote a coming-of-age novel about a young girl who finds herself displaced by a devastating flood,” Strickley said.
Strickley’s inspiration for the novel came from Louisville roots.
“Louisville-natives may recognize the true historical context—the flood of 1937 submerged much of this city and many others along the Ohio River. The book is about growing up female in the context of a culture that has very restrictive ideas about what that’s supposed to mean; it’s also about the perseverance it sometimes takes to be who we truly believe ourselves to be,” Strickley said.
“The Miracle Monocle” was founded in 2009 before going on a hiatus in 2012.
“I think it’s vital for a creative writing program to have a national journal and so this piece was part of my job description. It was one of the reasons I got the gig. I had a lot of editorial experience. One of my main missions at U of L was to relaunch ‘The Miracle Monocle,’” Ridge said.
Ridge, who considers himself an avant-garde writer, didn’t consider himself a typical editor either.
“A lit journal is only as good as the folks running it and, fortunately for me, I was surrounded by talent. I acted as more of a wilderness guide. We all went into the literary wild and if anyone got lost at any time I helped navigate, but otherwise the interns called the shots and selected all the work,” Ridge said.
Strickley will take the helm of “The Miracle Monocle” in the spring. She already has plans for the publication.
“I want to see the journal grow into a centerpiece of the literary community at the University of Louisville,” Strickley said.
Her plans will require a lot of work, but Strickley is up for the challenge.
“We’ll be experimenting with event planning, fundraising and outreach. The idea is to attract more potential contributors so that we can build the apparatus to support a more robust publishing model. I also want to give the editorial staff the opportunity to discover what it means to participate in the larger literary culture,” Strickley said.
With many ideas in the works, Ridge is optimistic on the future of the publication.
“I’m interested to see the direction Sarah steers the ship. She’s the captain now. Sarah’s amazing. She’s going to do an incredible job. The magazine is in great hands and I’m sure it’ll continue to thrive under her direction,” Ridge said.
Older editions of “The Miracle Monocle” can be found in the archives on the website. The magazine welcomes writers from all walks of life—published, unpublished and up-and-coming—to submit their work.
A launch party is also planned for the spring 2017 issue upon its printing.
Photo courtesy / Sarah Strickley