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Harbinger: Do It Yourself conveys self-reliant spirit

April 7, 2015

If you take anything away from this year’s Harbinger, Stephens’ award-winning student literary journal, it’s that young women of this generation are doing things their way.

“In Harbinger 2015, the voices and stories of our authors come together to suggest a continuation of our generation’s self-sufficiency—our willingness to make it happen for ourselves,” editor-in-chief Kitiara McGuire says in the magazine’s foreword.

The theme of this year’s Harbinger is Do It Yourself, a nod to the “grrrl” movement of the early 1990s that led to the popularity of “zines,” small handmade pamphlets. “Do It Yourself” begins with Maya Alpert’s how-to, “Write What You Know, Or Don’t,” a mockery of the concept that one has to be an expert on something in order to write about it. Other poetry, fiction and works also challenge norms and expectations and experiment with new concepts and language.

“Each year, the magazine reflects the personality of the group of editors and interns who work on it,” said Kris Somerville, faculty adviser. “This year, I would say the crew conveyed a punk ethos. They feel as if rather than being a coddled generation, they are independent and doing things for themselves in new and different ways. The cover and content reflect their self-reliant spirit. This year, our readers will notice a real edge to the look and content.”

Somerville also praised the cover and overall look of the magazine, designed by senior Haley Padilla.

“This year’s issue is a real marriage of design and content,” she said. “It’s a great read in a well-designed package.”

“Do It Yourself” is eligible for an “Outstanding Literary Journal” award at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta convention. Harbinger took the award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before new rules kicked in barring a journal from winning the award two consecutive years. Harbinger won again in 2013.

The journal is on sale at Susie’s or order a copy online here. The staff will hold a Harbinger Night launch party and reading at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24 at the Bridge in downtown Columbia.

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