As undergraduates, Caitlyn Paley, ’09, Timothy Henry, ’10, and Devin Gmyrek, ’09, are already the envy of all would-be writers – they’re published.

Paley, an English major, had already taken Introduction to Creative Writing and Poetry Writing with English professor Brian Henry when she decided to take a mixed media writing course in the fall of 2008, co-taught by Henry and art professor Mark Rhodes. Mixed media writing combines text and some aspect of visual art, which could be painting, collage, sculpture, installation, video or sound.

“I was unfamiliar with mixed media writing before I took the course, but Brian and Mark made a great team,” Paley said. “I always felt encouraged and excited.”

Using words that she found in photographs she had taken and manipulating the words together with Photoshop, Paley created a poem she was particularly proud of called “Renegade.” When Henry suggested that everyone in the class should look into ways to get their work out to a larger audience, Paley started sending her poems to various online journals. “Renegade” was accepted by the online poetry journal Moria.

“I still can’t believe I’m a published poet!” Paley said.

Timothy Henry, an English major and creative writing minor, has studied under some talented writers. He has taken classes with English professors Brian Henry and David Stevens and another course with Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun, the English department’s Distinguished Visiting Writer for the spring of 2008. He also spent four weeks with American poets Campbell McGrath and Henri Cole, working on his craft at the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College.

In the summer of 2008, Henry collaborated with friend and fellow Richmond student Devin Gmyrek on an electronic chapbook, “Seven and Seven.” A chapbook is generally 20 to 30 pages in length, as opposed to a full-length book of poetry, which must be 48 pages long.

“The title comes from the fact that we both have seven poems in the chapbook—and it’s the name of one of our favorite drinks,” Henry said. “Devin and I have a lot of poems that are thematically similar and ‘Seven and Seven’ deals with being young in the summer.”

The pair decided to submit the chapbook to the Scantily Clad Press, an online electronic chapbook series, after seeing chapbooks by Brian Henry and Tomaz Salamun published there.

“It’s really exciting to be published alongside well-known poets,” Henry said.

Henry also has a poem forthcoming in the next issue of the San Francisco-based poetry magazine Parthenon West Review. This poem, “Doors Without Locks And Other Entrances,” is a poem Henry wrote for his Introduction to Creative Writing class. The 31-line piece is one of the first poems Henry ever wrote.  

“When I found out it was accepted for publication, I was ecstatic,” he said. “A lot of my favorite living poets have been published in this magazine—it’s overwhelming.”