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About Us

NOVUS is a literary journal housed at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. NOVUS succeeds our previous literary journal, Lyre of the Phoenix, mentored by Dr. Michael Rex, pictured below.

As a journal, NOVUS publishes the work of national and international poets, writers, and artists with established publishing histories, alongside the very best of our student undergraduate work. Quality is our main objective, and we strive to spark inspiration with material that reflects the origins of our name: “new and novel” with a fresh spirit and unique voice. We hope to enhance and maintain a community that cherishes creative expression by supporting original, modern perspectives on the human condition, as well as timeless narratives with resonant voices.

Meet Our Team!

NOVUS wouldn’t be what it is today without the help and support of Cumberland University’s Creative and Professional Writing Program. Under their direction, we have been able to conduct NOVUS promotional events, establish a bi-weekly creative writing club at Cumberland University, and establish a full-fledged literary journal here at We are also fortunate to have been granted a Dr. Bill McKee Creative Research and Activities Grant to further our efforts and host internationally recognized poets, authors, and writers.

Ms. Sandee Gertz, Managing Editor

 Sandee Gertz is thrilled to have the honor of managing the Novus journal. She is an Associate Professor at Cumberland focusing on Poetry, Intro to Creative Writing, Small Press Publishing, and Professional Multimedia Writing.  She is the author of The Pattern Maker’s Daughter (Poems, Bottom Dog Press 2012) and the winner of the Chautauqua Friends Mary Jean Iron Prize in Poetry (2023). Her work in poetry, memoir, and fiction has appeared in Gargoyle, Cathexis Northwest Press, Northern Appalachia Review, Green Mountains Review, Poet Lore, The Write Launch, The Ledge, New Square and as a Finalist for the Porch Prize in Fiction and Poetry. Learn more at

Other Members of the Creative and Professional Writing Department:
Ms. Kerry Ann Moore, CPW Program Director

Dr. Michael Rex, Drama and English Program Director

Novus engages upper level Creative and Professional Writing majors in experiential learning by providing a collective publishing environment. Student editors are able to be involved with all aspects of publishing, including reading submissions, editing, correspondence, promotion of events, and more.

Pictured here are our Student Editors for this Spring’s 2024 Edition:

Kaylee Lowe is a senior at Cumberland University majoring in Creating Writing and a second-time Novus editor. She will be named the Assistant Managing Editor of Novus Literary Arts Journal in the Fall semester when she will graduate. Kaylee is the winner of the Cale Young Rice Poetry Award, given by Cumberland’s English and CW Departments. She is looking forward to pursuing a M.F.A. in Creative Writing and teaching.

Korrine Key is a senior at Cumberland University and will graduate in the spring of 2024. Her major is in Creative Writing with a minor in English. Korrine discovered in high school that she enjoyed writing poetry and has been working to improve her writing since then. She takes part in many other creative activities such as art and music. Her poetry can be found on the pages of Novus both in print and in this Spring’s digital edition.

Jake Harzbecker is a rising senior at Cumberland University. His poetry piece “Sunday Morning Coming Down” been published in the Spring 2023 digital edition of Novus and the 2023 Fall print edition. Currently he serves as a Student editor for Novus, president of the Nu chapter of Sigma Chi, and plans to pursue a career working for the YMCA after graduation.

Libby Knight, student editor, is currently an undergraduate working toward her Bachelor’s in both English and Creative and Imaginative Writing at Cumberland University. She has previously been published in NOVUS, and is now thrilled to be an editor of the literary journal. Truly enjoying collaborating with contributors and getting to be a part of the editorial process, Libby hopes to continue her career in publishing and further it within the writing field. 

Abby Scoggins is finishing up her junior year as a Creative and Professional Writing major at Cumberland University. She is a first time editor for NOVUS and hopes to continue through the rest of her time at Cumberland. After graduation, she plans to go into some form of content or social media writing. 

Lexi Vanatta is a senior at Cumberland University graduating with a bachelors degree in Creative and Imaginative Writing. She plans to use her knowledge gained from editing on the Novus website for her career in the future as well as reach the goal of publishing her own works.