In a quiet room in the Morgan University Center, students, faculty and staff gathered to listen to carefully placed words in poems and fiction and non-fiction essays by three of “Zone 3’s” award-winning editors: Amy Wright, Barry Kitterman and Andrea Spofford.

Founded in 1986 by APSU professors David Till and Malcolm Glass, it is a bi-annual printed publication through the Center for Excellence in Creative Arts at APSU. It was originally named for the agricultural area APSU was located in. Although the area has changed, the name remained the same.

“I think it’s amazing. I admire the vision of the journal’s founders, Malcolm Glass and David Till work and I appreciate our current direction.  I also want to acknowledge the work of our amazing managing editor Susan Wallace.” Associate Professor of Creative Writing poetry editor of “Zone 3” Andrea Spofford said. “I love the reputation “Zone 3” has established and I’m proud of the writers we publish. There’s a lot to be said about institutional knowledge and longevity and I think “Zone 3’s” age is indicative of its literary caliber. The work we publish is lasting and important.”

At “Zone 3’s” start, it was only poetry and fiction until Amy Wright, Coordinator of Creative Writing at APSU, added a non-fiction section to expand the journal in 2007.

Wright, scheduled to publish four books this year, said her passion stems from her research. “My interest is in research. So a lot of times I am research driven, whether field research, interviews or through conferences,” Wright said.

Wright opened with an excerpt from an essay called “This Is Our World,” by Dorothy Allison, a selected Acuff Chair of Excellence writer, who will be speaking on campus Oct. 27. The passage Wright read spoke on why Allison thinks art is so important in everyday life.

“I think that using art to provoke uncertainty is what great writing and inspired images do most brilliantly,” Wright read. “Art should provoke more questions than answers and most of all, make us think something we rarely want to think about at all.”

Creative Writing and Center of Excellence in Creative Arts Representative Barry Kitterman, read some of his works as well. One of his poems references the Clarksville community’s support of the restaurant staple, Johnny’s Big Burger.

“It’s Johnny himself, guards the grill. Nodding to his burgers as they sizzle in unison,” Kitterman read. “I order a double cheeseburger. Mayo, mustard, leave the pickles, grill the onions and fries with all their golden glory.”

“Zone 3” does not publish APSU students, but does offer student internships and opportunities for them to get involved in literary publishing. There is also an APSU student-run literary journal called “The Red Mud Review,” and applications will open from the Spring 2017 semester until the end of summer.

Creative writing is not just about thinking ‘outside of the box,’ it is the expression of emotion and feelings often in metaphorical and descriptive way. “Creative writing is important because it asks readers and writers to see the world in more nuanced ways.” Spofford said. “Reading teaches empathy and studying creative writing opens the world.”