Congratulations to Justin Bishop & Ruta Kuzmickas, the winners of our March 2018 Monthly Contest themed The Lost Hour!
This month's submissions render time in a myriad of complex ways. In "Tick-Tock," we see a manifestation of what the breakdown of time might look like, characterized through a distinctive figure and a bold clock face that looms ominously in the background. In response, the elegant images of "Montrose" carry with them a weight and a temporality that makes us linger for just a moment longer, leaving us poised on an intimate moment of loss at the end.
View these lovely works below, and make sure to check out our newest issue of R2: The Rice Review in a couple of weeks when it gets released!
"Tick-Tock" by Justin Bishop
"Montrose" by Ruta Kuzmickas
elderly oaks lining
bellies full after
days of sweet rain
wet limbs covered
in resurrected ferns,
for the moon
while her silver
back is turned
soft orange fever glow
that fights the dark
between these oaks,
I want to ask you:
who turns you on
who turns you off
how many shadows
do you turn
around each body
as it passes
walking home alone
how many moons
have you replaced
how does it feel
how does it
Congratulations to Clair Hopper & Victoria Wittner, the winners of our February 2018 Monthly Contest themed Heritage!
This month's winning pieces open a dialogue on what heritage can mean. The collaged conversation between "Cumulus" and "Ignis" structurally explores the changing ways in which we interact with our cultural heritage, while "Mist and Mountains" engages the deeply personal path of one family's history. In seeking answers, these pieces encourage observers to consider their own complex relationships with the past. Enjoy!
Submissions for March's theme, The Lost Hour, are open now through March 28.
Mist and Mountains by Victoria Wittner
The Blue Ridge Mountains are in my blood. My family sailed across the sea not quite on the Mayflower, but close. They immediately disappeared up into the mountains that reminded them of the home that they had left in Scotland. I've heard stories that they were trying to follow Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap, but decided to stay where the mountains roll blue to the horizon. I know this can’t be true, because my family lived in the mountains long before Daniel Boone made his first coon-skin cap.
My family fought in the Revolutionary War, and on both sides of the Civil War, when the salt peter in mountain caves became a resource to both sides. They worked in the coal towns, and saw the beautiful slopes stripped bare and holes gnawed through the living rock. They stayed when the CCC cut the parkway through and around the mountains. They stayed until my grandmother was a girl, spending her summers taking eggs cooled in a snow-melt stream to Ballard store for candies. They stayed until great-grandmother died in ‘Irn-ton’, after a life spent recording recipes for the family grimoire.
And they stay still, in the summer trips on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the way my mother and I come home with mountain accents. In the copper kettle, used to stew apple butter—and once stolen for moonshine—that now holds old newspapers. In the old bathtub that holds my mother’s rosemary bush. In the way my great-uncle taught me to make homemade ice cream. In the chocolate cake recipe, passed down by only two family lines in the world.
The mountains live when my mother and I hike the Appalachian trail, and eat wild blue and black berries. When my mother taught me to catch crawdads the way her grandmother taught her. They live when a three-year-old was taken to watch the leaves turn the forest to flame, and was promptly buried in them. When my grandmother leads unofficial tours of reenacted pioneer farms, and I gather eggs from their henhouses. The mountain blood lives, and will live on.
Congratulations to the winners of our November 2017 Monthly Contest: Lucille Tang ("Metamorphosis") & Mascha Lange ("Water, Water")!
For November, our theme was Horoscope. These winning submissions take on the complexities of the zodiac through different forms. They emphasize themes of the four elements and natural cycles, exploring disruption both as growth and loss. Enjoy!
Submissions for the publication of R2's annual literary and art journal are open now through December 20th at midnight.
Congratulations to the winners of our October 2017 Monthly Contest: Justin Bishop ("Who's The Fairest of Them All") & Daniel Koh ("We Need to Talk About the Lack of STEM Representation in the Humanities")!
For October, our theme was Disguise. These winning submissions explore obscured layers of familiar struggles through very different mediums and voices, drawing attention to a common disconnect between perceptions and reality. Enjoy!
Submissions for November's theme, Horoscope, are open now through late November.
We Need to Talk About the Lack of STEM Representation in the Humanities
by Daniel Koh
R2 is Rice’s premier, award-winning literary magazine. It is open to submissions from all students and even offers a monthly contest with prizes, but some students and alumni in STEM says that R2 does not offer them enough opportunities.
Computer Science major Cam Tutenn, who admittedly has never opened a copy of R2, says he would like to pursue a career in software development, and is happy to have gotten his D1 and D2 requirements over with.
“Nothing in R2 is anything remotely close to what I want to go on to do with the rest of my life and my Rice degree,” Tutenn, a Will Rice College junior, complained. “Look, it’s just not fair that there’s not a coding contest in the literary magazine. I mean, I’m writing code. Writing is in the name of the activity!”
Rice is an open and accepting place, and organizations like R2 are the exact opposite of that. It is not fair that R2 prevents STEM students from showcasing their STEM knowledge.
“There’s so many STEM majors on campus that we deserve to get more opportunities. Clearly, there is no such thing as a hard D1 or D2 assignment. As a D3 major, I know what difficult work is, and I demand respect. I mean, if you really want to do something about the cutthroat competition in STEM, just take opportunities from the D1 and D2 scrubs so that we can all get some,” suggested Jen Kem, a Wiess College junior.
English major Daniel Koh argues that despite the fact that R2 is an English literary magazine, that there must be some opportunities for STEM majors in there somewhere.
“R2 has a website, on the Internet no less, so I don’t think it’s as humanities-focused as people think,” Koh, a Jones College sophomore, said. “And you know what? Those STEM majors’ first mistake was not choosing a major that would help them with the opportunities offered by R2. Why’d they have to choose some wishy-washy major like BioE instead?”
It’s simply outrageous that our literary magazine does not offer engineering design or app development. In 2017, we’re supposed to be accepting of all majors, so R2 should take it upon itself to change everything about itself, if necessary, to accommodate for STEM. Unfortunately, the D1 and D2 people just don’t seem to get it.
Regardless of major, writing for R2 is a valuable experience, Koh said. “Even if you don’t think you’ll get anything out of it, you still get stuff out of it that’s intangible,” Koh said. “You get the extra practice typing on a keyboard. And every year you get flip through a glossy booklet, it’s great.”
R2 Editor's Note: This piece was written as a satirical response to an article about the career fair previously run in the Thresher and does not represent the views of R2 or the Thresher as organizations.
We are thrilled to announce the first monthly contest winners for the year, based on our September prompt, "Neighborhood." There were fantastic submissions for this month. The winning written piece, "Chlorine" by Allison Yelvington, and the winning art piece, "The Fruit Shop Downstairs" by Eva Ma, are featured below. Thank you so much for participating, and you can be sure to submit to October 2017's monthly contest, which is themed "Disguise."
by Allison Yelvington
She used to love the neighborhood pool. She would beg her mother to go, offer to trade best behavior and early bedtimes for a chance to step across the hot concrete next to the community center and into the shallow end of the water. These days she drove past it devoid of desire, exercising instead an adult level of disgust for the communal bath of germs and piss and for little boys on the cusp of puberty who swam too close to legs with goggles on and eyes wide open.
Still, at times, when she hit a red light and eyes wandered, the memories of the pool would break the surface of her mind and swim lazy laps for a moment, and she could almost taste the chlorine.
There was the single time she and her siblings had convinced her father to join them. They had piled into the mini-van with pasty sunscreen faces clutching their towels, and arrived at an empty parking lot and the sign "POOL CLOSED MONDAYS."
And there were the years spent walking to end of the diving board and curling her toes around the edge, and then turning back again in terror and shame, climbing down to watch her younger sister jump instead.
She still shuttered at the sensation of running into the shirtless belly of someone else's father in a game of Marco Polo, and remembered the way her fingertips would wrinkle, and how the rough bottom of the pool would tear at the skin of her big toe.
Most of all, she remembered the feeling of laying on her back, feeling light and as if she could float into the sky above her. These were the moments that most felt like poetry, and sometimes, just for an instant, she thought about entering the cast iron gate to the pool once more. She imagined climbing in fully clothed, to the confusion of the tweens and helicopter moms and high school life guards, and just floating on her back.
"It's been two years since I've written a poem," she would say.
But then the light would change to green, and the instant was gone, the memories would submerge themselves once more, and she would keep driving.