The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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St. John’s Literary Magazine Launches First Post-COVID Edition

A publishing party marks the resurgence of Sequoya with a guest poet in attendance.
Members of Sequoya’s e-board (from left to right): Kelly Mooney, Marie-Therese Nasah, Amal Ahmad, Cara Cordova and Abigail Grieco Photo Courtesy / Abigail Grieco

The Sequoya Literary and Arts Magazine hosted a publishing party today at the University Writing Center from 1:50-3:15 p.m., celebrating the release of their 2023-2024 edition. This event marked Sequoya’s first issue since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and featured guest poet Chia-Lun Chang.

Sequoya, the oldest creative publication at St. John’s University dating back to the 1920s, accepted many submissions of varying mediums for their most recent issue, all of which were celebrated at the event.

Pizza and soda were provided to attendees as they listened to Chia-Lun Chang, winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and the author of “Prescribee,” read aloud some of her award-winning poems. After, contributors had the opportunity to read aloud works of their own, and others opened their magazine copies to follow along.

Arianna Puka, a freshman English major had her first two works published in the new edition and expressed her delight in seeing her creativity come to life in print.

“I think it’s so cool,” said Puka. “I appreciate how the journal can bring us together.”

Sequoya’s co-managing editor Ayah Cruzado knows very well how the journal can bring people together, as she was once inspired to contribute to the magazine because of her sister. 

Sequoya hosted their launch party at the University Writing Center.
Torch Photo / Isabella Athanasiou

“Honestly I am just really excited,” said Cruzado. “Sequoya has been on hiatus and we really didn’t know if we were going to get it back. I am a legacy, my sister went to St. John’s. I was like eleven years old and she was reading Sequoya and I was like ‘oh my god that’s so cool’ and I am just so honored to be a part of this.”

Cruzado adds that she hopes Sequoya can keep their legacy going for “years and years to come,” this new addition acting as a sort of new beginning. 

Abby Grieco, the former Features Editor of The Torch and current editor-in-chief of Sequoya, emphasized that this latest edition marks a fresh start for the publication, and how they managed to incorporate that into the theme.

“I think a lot of it was about renewal, and rising from a seed because we really hadn’t published since before COVID-19. So I think we were taking something small and not really nurtured, and nurturing it back to health,” said Grieco.

“We were nurtured by faculty, advisors, by people who contributed, support was probably the biggest thing. So honestly even though we did not have a set theme for this year, I think a lot of it was about growth and rising from the ashes.” Grieco adds.

The Sequoya publishing party concluded with a sense of optimism and anticipation for the future of the magazine. Members of Sequoya urge students to submit their work and to help them keep the artistic legacy going.

“Just reach out,” said Grieco. “I would like to say we are very welcoming and we are looking for new people so even if you’re interested in the social media aspect, not so much the editing, we would be lucky to have people doing that. So I think my advice would be to reach out and have confidence in yourself.”

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About the Contributor
Isabella Athanasiou
Isabella Athanasiou, Asst. News Editor
Isabella is a sophomore journalism student serving her first year as Assistant News Editor for The Torch. Outside of The Torch, she is a published poet and is working on a poetry collection of her own. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing guitar, listening to music and hanging out with friends. Isabella can be reached at [email protected].
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