For more than thirty years, the University of Hartford’s student writers have sought ways to share their talents with the community. As early as the 1970’s, faculty members and students from the University’s English Department collaborated to showcase student writing. Preliminary attempts ranged from individual student productions to informal Bohemian collaborations.
Around 1972, the University of Hartford published a small literary journal known as The Hog River Review. This publication, which lasted for a few years in the 1970’s, provided writers with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to compose works of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and other literary genres. The Hog River Review was funded through generous donations, but the look and style of the magazine did not do its content justice. With sketched cover art and photocopied production, The Hog River Review looked more like a pamphlet than a literary journal. Still, those who saw the potential within this early publication made The Hog River Review a crucial part of University of Hartford’s English Department history.
The 1980’s and early 1990’s brought on an explosion of literary work from the undergraduates at the University. Due to the continued lack of a formal magazine, writers from across the University of Hartford campus created various publications, large and small. Faculty members met with students as an extracurricular activity rather than as a course or a club. Literary magazines were something of an underground operation, a hobby. Pre-Aerie publications included: From the Workshop, a product of Friday afternoon get-togethers; Explorations, composed exclusively of freshman literary accomplishments; and Conception, a creation of the English Department’s Honor’s Society: Sigma Tau Delta.
When Aerie was first introduced to the University in 1996, it served as a venue for the English Department to publish winning pieces from the Department’s annual writing contest. This new literary magazine was run exclusively by faculty.