Energeia is the literary journal for St. John’s College, Annapolis. We collect and publish original works created by members of the polity (undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff) once a semester.
Our name comes from the Greek word ενέργεια, which can be rendered as “being-at-work,” or “being-at-work-staying-oneself.”
Our mission is to allow the St. John’s polity to do just that. We are interested in original art that contributes to the conversation on what it means to be human, and how art helps us to be better humans.
Energeia aims to unify the artists on campus by creating a space to recognize and celebrate our work and ourselves.
Editor-in-Chief. Dorothea Bowerfind (Dorothea.Bowerfind@sjc.edu)
Production Editor. (Dahye.Kim@sjc.edu)
Submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter from Editors 2016
The goal of Energeia, we tell people when they ask, is to collect art from the community. The point of this project, we insist, the point and the entire purpose—the assumption we make in so doing—is that there is very much good art in this place, very many good artists. The labor is the collecting, the gathering into one place, and the collection is the entire end.
It is hard for us to make connections, sometimes, hard to remember that nothing in this world happens in a vacuum, that everything is analogue to everything else, and that symbols and metaphors we find profound and illuminating because they bring out the repition and entanglement of all things. It is important, we believe, to remember this, and the creation of art is the manifestation of this awareness in us, and its outward manifestation an urgent cry to others to remember these connections likewise.
For better or worse, it seems that men find themselves in communities. These are rarely the communities we envision for ourselves, that we hope for and plan—but then we do not ever have much say over the circumstances in which we land, about these inevitable immediate boundaries of space and time. Our response to these circumstances, though—this is our good action, this is our overcoming, and it is art that is content for the overcoming, art our offering and duty to the community of thought in which we have found ourselves. Art is our speaking up, our speaking out, and in this utterance we are artists as well as philosophers.
In the study of Great Ideas and the Development of our Minds, it is too often passed over that we are bodily, that these transcendental idealities are not the stuff of real knowledge, but rather that our experiences in flesh and sound are. Being able to acknowledge ourselves and our experiences constitutes some part of our humanity—this acknowledgement, this utterance of things taken into us and transfigured into images of our own creation—this process is most human of all.
This process and this drawing-of-connections are art, and thus when I say that the purpose of Energeia is to collect and draw notice to these connections, what I am saying is that in this community we are all great thinkers and therefore we are also artists and lovers of art, and the task of collecting—and circulating, and celebrating—art is one that I find most noble, and one nicely eponymous: we are all at work being united here.
Here is some art that we have created while in community.
We hope you are glad to encounter it.
Abby Purnell and Jakub Piven, Editors
Letter from Editors 2017
This is the fifth and final issue of Energeia that Jakub and I have put together. During our time on Energeia, we have been fortunate to be presented with many opportunities to admire the art of our peers and our community, and many, many opportunities to think about what art is, and why we make it, and what good there is in paying attention to it.
Here are some of the most important things I have discovered about art:
Firstly, art at its best is an honest self-representation of its artist. By self-representation of the artist, I mean that, since art is unnecessary in a strict sense, every detail of it, from choice of medium to the content portrayed, must be regarded as deliberately intended by the artist. From this conception of art as intentional, we come to realize that all art must say something about the artist who deemed it worth creating in that way and not otherwise. All art reveals something about its artist, but in saying that the best art is an “honest” self-representation of its artist, I mean to say that an artist with a clearly articulated intention, an artist who knows what it is he means to express and does not from shame or uncertainty hide this from himself or his audience, makes the best art. This sort of self-honesty we may have heard under other names, as when we say an artist has a clear voice or vision.
Since the best art, as I say, has to do with the representation of something of the inner world of the artist, it makes some sense that my next point is this: art must exist for its own sake. Art with a moral or a didactic aim does not serve to truly express anything of the artist; it may be beautiful, but what shines through in art proper is the essential spirit of its creator, who from the overflow of his inner self created something of what he saw in this world, and meant for it to outlive him.
That said, the existence of art in our lives strikes me as an important one, just as important as life in community, and perhaps closely tied to community. Since each of us is able to produce only art that expresses our own selves, the lifelong study and celebration of many different artists serves to make us better, richer individuals. When we encounter a piece of art, and discover in the art something true of the artist and the world he inhabits, we are drawn out of ourselves, and made to consider the extraordinary multiplicity of perspectives that humans can offer each other. We are tasked to be honest in our own creations, then, and to consider seriously and thoughtfully the truth that others are able to offer us in theirs.
In many, many ways we are all strangers from one another in this world; ten individuals tasked with painting the same tree will without fail produce ten unlike images. Art teaches us that truth is like this: larger than us, uniquely true for each of us individually without ever contradicting itself, and made more profound for us as individuals by engaging with facets of truth that only open up to us when we are shown what others see.
The role of Energeia is to bring together the art produced within this community, that we may come to know ourselves and one another better by our study and celebration of things once deemed worth expressing and thus immortalizing.
Here is some art we have found while in community here. We hope you are filled with wonder and gladness to encounter it.
Abby Purnell and Jakub Piven, departing editors