• One TwentyOne

Note from the Editor

The Virginia Normal faced unique challenges this semester. With the arrival of COVID-19, Virginia State University decided to finish the semester remotely. Despite the unexpected changes, VSU students continued to excel in their studies and their creative pursuits. We are extremely proud to present the latest collection of work from VSU’s poets and writers.


The program cover for the African American Read-In, during which winners and honorable mentions from the Black History Month Literary Arts contest were honored.

There are a number of features in this issue, including the winners from two writing contests. The Department of Languages & Literature’s annual Student Writing Contest features winners and honorable mentions in the categories of poetry, short fiction, and critical essay. Also, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences sponsored a literary arts contest in honor of Black History Month. Students submitted poetry and essays that responded to the theme “Black History, Black Mental Health: Trauma. Resilience. Triumph.” The winners and honorable mentions were celebrated at this year’s African American Read-In and were invited to share their winning work.

We also are proudly continuing our Ekphrasis in reVerse exhibition. Ekphrasis is a genre of writing that responds to a visual work of art. In our Ekphrasis in reVerse exhibition, VSU students wrote poems that were then re-imagined into visual art by VSU’s student artists. (Unfortunately, due to the restrictions created by COVID-19, we are unable to publish images of the artwork at this time. The artwork will be shared at a later date.) The Department of Languages & Literature partnered with the Department of Art & Design to show both the artworks and the poems in the Meredith Art Gallery, and the poets read their work at an open mic in the gallery.


Former TVN editor and VSU alumna Tedria Smith stands in front of the artwork created in response to her poem “When I Think About You in the Back of My Mind.” Her poem was featured in the Ekphrasis in reVerse exhibition in the Meredith Art Gallery.

We would like to extend special thanks to Anh Do, Ann Ford, Dr. Lenneal Henderson, Dr. Randy Holmes, Dr. Pamela Reed, Cheryl Stewart, the Department of Languages & Literature, and all the staff of The Virginia Normal for making this year so excellent.

Finally, we are happy to share some exciting news! This will be the last issue of TVN@VSU. We are overjoyed to announce a new project: 121. 121 will be an online journal of undergraduate writing from HBCU students. We will post news about 121, including when we open for submissions, on our social media pages and The Virginia Normal‘s home page, so stay tuned.

We hope you enjoy this issue of TVN@VSU. Thank you for reading!

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