Monthly Archives: July 2013

Marching across/ the Bridge on the River Kwai

Dear Storywriters, Storyhearers, and Pythonians,

The Summer 2013 reading session is over. To those who submitted, wonderful work so far. We’re still evaluating your pieces and will come to a decision. To those who didn’t submit, shame, forsakenness, misdeed upon your household! Or your wifi. Whichever affects you more.

You can always submit to our fine little literary magazine at yorickmagazine@gmail.com. If you missed the deadline for the Summer 2013 issue, why not submit for the Fall 2013 issue?

Do it. This is a warranted challenge. So is the following:

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“I Can Make it to the Gate in 3 Seconds, Can You?” by emilydickinsonridesabmx

As we run from attack dogs and march in tune, we realize that submitting work is a tough process. It’s equitable to raising children and sending them off into the world to get jobs—except your children can get rejected and you have to revise them to make them perfect.

Sounds pretty dystopian to me.

But it’s what writers do. All storytellers need to strive to find their medium. We don’t all have the honor of telling our tales to a tribe by the fireside in the desert. We don’t all have enthusiastic grandchildren who honor us with their ears. What we do have is the Internet.

The first magazine I successfully submitted to, Postcard Shorts, is a sweet affair with remote flash fictions that take your mind away for a few minutes, roughly. It’s an enjoyable publication and a reminder of why we write. Escape. A chance to travel to a new world, one not too far away but not so subtly in an inaccessible dimension.

That’s a lie. We submit to become famous. You want to be in an echelon where strangers will glorify your work and your friends will say, “Wow, I grew up with that chick, and now she’s a famous novelist/ short story writer/ poet? I really suck.” However, you can always relieve non-writer friends by reminding them that your pay affords the pens and paper you write with.

So escape and fame. What else? Here’s a thought: we’re all writing to concoct the same dream with different pieces, chemicals, people. A complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end (unless you’re one of those absurdist-surrealist compatriots, and to you I say write on). Detective solves a mystery. Lovers solve the mystery of love. Gloomy poets solve the mystery of isolation with more isolation. It’s completeness we seek; passengers on the same boat, towards the same lonely island, we take up different cabins believing we’re original.

So march on and whistle.

Submit.

Can you submit before the vicious dog reaches the fence in three seconds?

Yes. Absolutely yes.

Remember that even though our songs sound different, they follow the same tune. Go buy yourself some caviar, you peasant. You’ve earned it.

Love,
Alex

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Best Summer Reads

By Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer

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“summer reading” by Ruminatrix

Hello again!

So, I walked into my kitchen earlier and saw, sitting in a little bowl on the counter, the first summer tomatoes from my dad’s garden. As I sat down to enjoy a few lightly salted tomato slices (you should try it—it’s surprisingly delicious), I remembered some of the other small things that make summer simply delightful: eating dinner on the porch, lounging by the pool, playing summer nighttime games like capture the flag or manhunt, and, most especially, taking the time to sit down and read a good book.

Being an English major, I am required to read a lot of books, some of which are enjoyable, some of which are not. Often the books I read for school are not the ones I would pick up in my spare time. Ever since I was a little kid, I have enjoyed reading good adventure stories because they are always amazingly fun to read and can usually be finished in a day or two. As I have gotten older, the stories shifted from young adult to mature fiction, but my love for adventure stories has not diminished. So without further ado, here are some of the books, authors, and stories I have been reading this summer.

Fables: This is not technically a series of book-books, but a series of graphic novels. The story lines they contain are so intricate and wonderfully original that I have literally spent hours reading and re-reading the series. In short, magical creatures called Fables, kicked out of their own world, end up in moving into ours. The series is about their struggles to live among humans, or “Mundies” as they call us, while still keeping their own lives in check. If you’re interested in a new spin on storybook characters such as Snow White, Prince Charming, The Big Bad Wolf, Cinderella, Jack (from “Jack and the Beanstalk” fame) and others, then this is a must read.

Amberville: This one is definitely interesting. Set in a world exactly like ours, except populated by anthropomorphic stuffed animals, Amberville is a gritty, dark mystery novel that does not disappoint. While the mystery itself was not all that spectacular, the characters in the story are what sold it for me. If you’re interested in reading something wayyy out of the ordinary, then this is definitely for you.

Percy Jackson: When I say Percy Jackson, I mean the whole series, not just the first book (read the book, DON’T see the movie—the book is way better), because it features a genre and a story arc that are personally right up my alley. Having had to read canonical literature for most of the last eight months has been grueling, so picking up this series and reading it cover to cover in two weeks was a nice break. As well, being a fan of mythology, I was pleased to see how Rick Riordan incorporated almost every Greek myth and story into his books in various ways. These are nice and easy reads, but they’re still fun and engaging all the while.

Roald Dahl: This man is my favorite writer by far. Many of you have probably read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda as well as a number of his other children’s stories. Yet, what I love most about his writing is his short stories. While mostly dark and humorous, all of them are simply amazing to read. Consequently, his stories cover a lot of the darker topics his more popular fiction does not, and yes, there are quite a few—murder, art, sex and humanity’s insanity are some of the more common ones, but this topic list has an extensive range. If you get a chance, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of The Best of Roald Dahl. My personal three favorites are “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “Skin,” and “Pig,” but if you do read his stories, let me know which ones you liked. I can talk about his works for hours upon hours upon hours.

That’s it for now. I wish you all a happy day, and happy night, and a happy everything. Feel free to contact me with any of your good summer reads, as I am running out of books to read and could use some mighty suggestions.

With summer restlessness,

Sam Levenberg
Yorick Magazine

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Artist Spotlight: Nick Kita

Interview by Alex Grover, Editor-in-Chief
Transcribed by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer

Months ago, I trapped a young photographer into a long conversation that he probably didn’t want to have. He had the misfortune of having his work accepted in the Spring 2013 issue of Yorick, so I knew that his artistic insight would be beneficial to our dear community. When I successfully cornered him, he gave me the “dark eyes,” the look of frustration when you can’t get out of dodge and you subtly admit defeat. Here is an abridged interview with Nick Kita, possible double agent, definite swagger.

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Nick Kita, Photographer

Alex: Where has photography taken you in life?

Nick: Socially, it’s pretty cool what being a photographer does at a college. Just this weekend I was able to go and photograph Profstock and being at, being at the front of the stage everyone is dying for your attention. Everyone wants to go home and see themselves and it’s pretty cool. You know I never, I never really wanted to bend for people to become their friends, so it hasn’t made me exuberantly popular, if that’s the right word. It hasn’t made me the coolest kid on campus, but it definitely helped me be at the front of some social experiences and that’s pretty cool. Business wise—it’s pretty funny, because I never intended to take it toward a business aspect. I always liked photography, I’d always thought it was a cool thing to do, but I guess I’ve been blessed with somewhat of a raw talent because everybody, not everyone, let me rephrase…

Alex: (laughs)

Nick: …enough people talk to me and go, “Wow, you’re a really great photographer!” and I say, “Thank you.” I appreciate that, but you are the biggest critique of your own work. So, people have been pushing me toward it, to take it towards a business standpoint, and for me as a nineteen-year-old just turned twenty-year-old kid, I was comfortable making $9.50 at my Smoothie King and selling all those retail products. But when you can work six hours and make $500 easy, and that’s the lowest you’ll make, it’s kind of hard not to say, “Wow! I really love doing this! Why not make money doing it?” So business is coming second for me, but it’s going to be a priority and it’s going to keep me afloat whether or not it takes me deeper in the future with photography and that’s where most of my income will come from, or if it’s just a hobby that can help me buy cool stuff.

Alex: (laughs) Yeah. Well, you talk about this raw talent—what do you think that means? And what, how do you see yourself refining that raw talent?

Nick: I think it’s more raw talent for me in the way I’m trying to define it. I have an innate ability to see the beauty in the mundane. So, when I see something that normally someone would look at and say “Wow, that’s not that beautiful, that’s not cool,” I can see myself in a different light, in a different aspect, from a different perspective and make it beautiful. I can…with all my social experiences and how my first passion people, my second passion is experiences and my third passion is success. So, I’ve grown to know how people act and what usually comes next in a series of event, series of conversations and I can, I can predict when that perfect shot’s going to happen. But again, that can just come from practice with photography.

Alex: Yeah, so it’s almost this weird, precognitive, artistic…

Nick: …disposition that I have.

Alex: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah.

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“i play even though i know my sound falls on deaf ears,”
Nick Kita

Alex: It comes through in your work no matter what. And just to jump around, it definitely shows in your piece, “i play even though i know my sound falls on deaf ears.” It’s just very, it’s just very moving because everyone around him is static and there he is at the center. Tell me about that piece.

Nick: Yeah, just to go back to what I said before, finding the beauty in the mundane. What I wanted to emphasize the most in that piece is how this old man, one of our elders if you will, is sitting there, he’s most likely retired, I don’t know his name, I didn’t ask his name, I probably should’ve reflecting on this, but everybody in this world, we always move so fast. Here we are on a vacation, a vacation location, a getaway, and everyone is running past this beautiful artistic expression, they don’t notice him. People who are sitting behind him are on their cellphones, they’re looking in other directions, they’re talking to their partners and stuff like that, no one really stood and stopped to embrace the moment that he was providing for us. So I saw that, and saw that he was a very talented man, and I wanted to capture the picture. Though he is not named in the photo, I don’t know his name, I heard he plays there for, he’s played there for years and if I ever went back again I would most definitely ask for his name, maybe do a story on him, photojournalism, that’s something that interests me. That was a very cool, very cool guy. It was more or less to emphasize how quickly we move and how we overlook some of the coolest things. They’re right in front of our face and we walk right past never giving them a chance to blossom and bloom and become this great thing.

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“Our Time Has Come,” Nick Kita

Alex:  Your other piece was very interesting too. It’s almost, it’s almost kind of eerie, it was “Our Time Has Come.”

Nick: Yeah, yeah. What I was really trying to portray there was this existentialist type of artwork where, what I was going for was the very spiritual—I’m just totally kidding. It was a foggy day.

Alex: (laughs)

Nick: It was a foggy day and I told my RA, Ojas Patel at the time, I said, “Yeah Ojas, yeah come on, I love fog.” I really wanted to do this low-key photo shoot and so we walked over to the back of Edgewood Park Apartments, and there’s this light shining down, and I said, “Go ahead, jump, make it look like you’re levitating.” And it took about twenty shots just to get that one shot. I mean, as funny as, as much meaning as can be put into one photo, a totally…pointless, floorless meaning can be given. I mean there’s just, there’s just no meaning, no meaning for that photo, it was just a spur of the moment thing and I was like, “This looks cool, let me take it.” But the title again, as I went and reflected on it, it could mean so much to so many people. He’s in the shape of a cross, Christians could interpret it that way, and they could think, “Oh, it’s Jesus rising up.” Say I took that photo and I, I didn’t reveal it until Easter, you know, it’s, there are so many ideas that can be derived from something, and it’s all really what you see in art, and it’s what makes art and music and these creative expressions that you, that humans can create, that the human population can create, that’s what makes it so interesting to me. Now, my interpretation, I just, I simply know the facts. How I want it to be interpreted? There simply is no wrong answer. Take what you need from it.

We talked for roughly two hours, and in that barrage of ideas and ideals in April’s chill, I felt this cool connection to this fellow whose job was his passion, whose passion was an organ much like his heart. This next part was the last bit we suffered through, but I might just have enjoyed it the most.

Nick: Photography is part of me now, and it’s not like I can separate business from my normal life. I can’t separate work from my normal life because I love what I do. I try and be as humble as possible, because, I have no, I don’t have anything to back up me being the best. I just have my creative art expression, I just have my portfolio, and some people like it, some people love it, some people hate it.

Alex: Do you ever think that you’ll be the best?

Nick: To some people, yeah, absolutely, I’ll be the best to some people. I’ll be the worst to some people. It’s all, it’s all (sighs) it all depends on which spectrum you look at it from. Maybe I’m the best to my father, maybe I’m the worst to my mother. Who knows. Δ

Submit your artwork and photography to yorickmagazine@gmail.com.
Deadline is August 1st.

Regarding Poetry: Part 1 – Best Independent Magazines

by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer

Genuine Eskimo Pie

Genuine Eskimo Pie, by Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

Hello out there!

While looking on the World Wide Web and in a bunch of bookstores (both big and small) for interesting literary magazines, I realized that it was a daunting task. Considering that Duotrope, a service for writers and magazines alike, hosts over four thousand magazines, anthologies, and contests of its own, I could only assume that there were thousands of different independent publications in existence, of which I needed to choose only a few.

I want to note the two precedents I set for myself to help narrow down this range to only a few publications. I didn’t pay much attention to undergraduate student-run magazines (especially those that only publish student work) or niche publications (e.g. a review of food poetry) because I wanted to consider those magazines with broader audiences and contributors as well as more diverse tastes.

And so, in no particular order, these are five literary magazines which I really liked and why I liked them:

  • 32 Poems: I liked this magazine because of its premise – all their poetry is 32 lines or shorter. This singular restriction makes it so that you don’t get bogged down reading the journal. It was refreshing, to say the least, and I particularly loved the way that a lot of the authors creatively found ways to tell an entire story in such a short amount of lines.
  • vox poetica: More than their actual publications, which I think I should probably have read a few more of, this magazine’s defining strength is in its website. In their mission statement, this publisher says they are interested in, “…art that pushes, or rather forcefully shoves, the boundaries.” and their website strives for this hand and foot. One of the favorite sections on their site is the “Prompts” page, where the editors post some form of prompt and ask viewers to write a poem based off it. It was a definitely a treat reading what people came up with.
  • Eskimo Pie: Ohhhh kay, the first thing I liked about this magazine, before I even got into its pages, was its name. I mean, I personally love Eskimo Pies as much as I love Mallomars, so the name itself made me think of those. With a focus on all kinds of poetry, but with an abundance of haikus, this magazine was definitely and interesting read. The haikus especially made me happy for the same reason that 32 Poems’ works made me happy – it was interesting to see what people did with such a small amount of space.
  • The 22 Magazine: The greatest thing about this magazine is that every edition has exactly 22 authors, no more no less. That’s what I loved about it. By confining themselves to such a specific number of authors this publication gives great focus on the work of said authors. Some of the pieces are really lighthearted and fun, some are dark and reflective, and some are indescribable. But all of it is unique, and all of it was enjoyable to read.
  • Circus Book: This one I have to say I am a little more biased about because I did some work for them a little while back, so I got to know the editors and what the kind of work they put out. What I ended up liking so much about the Circus Book was that I could spend hours reading and looking through the archives on their website because they have works of fiction, non-fiction, all kinds of poetry and a plethora (yes, plethora) of artwork, almost all of which is interesting.

Please, dear readers, keep in mind that this is my opinion and is therefore heavily biased. If you know of other magazines that you feel are better than the ones I listed, feel free to tell me about them so I can check them out, because there is a very good chance they are better than the ones I listed.

With great amounts of fondness,

Sam Levenberg
Yorick Magazine