The ASU College of Letters and Sciences is hiring writing fellows to support ASU Online and iCourse students in the Writers’ Studio, a first-year composition program.
Writing Fellows — advanced undergraduate and graduate students — are trained to provide good feedback on writing projects and to assist with moderating group discussions. Together with instructors, writing fellows work with students to foster a collaborative, interactive online learning space. Writing Fellows are chosen for their strong writing skills and investment in helping others to improve their writing.
Announcing Black Warrior Review’s Twelfth-Annual Contest for Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry! Grand prize in each genre: $1,000 and publication. Runner-up prize in each genre: $100. Cost to enter: $20 (includes a one-year subscription). Judges: Hoa Nguyen (poetry), Sofia Samatar (fiction), and T Clutch Fleischmann (nonfiction). Deadline:September 1. bwr.ua.edu.
Truman State University Press is seeking submissions for the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. It is awarded annually for the best unpublished book-length collection of poetry in English regardless of a poet’s nationality, stage in career, or publication history. The winner receives a $2,000 award and a publishing contract. The deadline is October 31, 2016 and there is a $25 entry fee. All entrants receive a complimentary electronic or print edition of the winning book. See complete guidelines athttp://bit.ly/1T1GsJ5 [image attached]
Google, Tumblr, Twitter: @TSUPress is now accepting entries for the T.S. Eliot Prize. http://bit.ly/1T1GsJ5 #write #poetry #ContestAlert
LinkedIn, Facebook: Truman State University Press is now accepting entries for the T.S. Eliot Prize. http://bit.ly/1T1GsJ5
Slightly Foxed is the lively literary quarterly for people who don’t want to read only what the big publishers are hyping and the newspapers are reviewing. Companionable, entertaining and elegantly produced, Slightly Foxed puts its readers in touch with a world of interesting and often forgotten books. Within its striking covers its readers discover recommendations for good reading written by booklovers from all walks of life, from celebrated authors to the general public. Printed in England by traditional craftsmen printers, Slightly Foxed strikes a blow for lasting quality in content and presentation.
96 pages – Illustrated throughout – 4 printed issues per year
Digital editions, annual subscription and trial issues available
“Seema Reza delivers. When the World Breaks Open is a searing song of motherhood, love and redemption through art. Her sons, the death of her marriage, the birth of her courageous artist self is a testimony in which she finds the skin, questions faith, reverberates a familial tongue and rises, yes—rises in a stumbling glory.”
Under her pseudonym, internet artist and social media star Molly Soda has made her portfolio off the pitfalls of social media and the new generation of Internetisms. She set aside some time to talk to our Art Editor, Regan Henley about some of her work and her perspective as a web artist in the spotlight.
Regan Henley: One of the things I find most interesting about your work is your examination of internet fame, which of course, is a relatively new invention. I particularly like “Inbox Full.” Did you set out to examine these concepts, or do you think they are more just a product of your situation?
Molly Soda: I never put myself or my work online with the intention of becoming “famous” or with any attempts to amass a large following. I’m interested as to why certain personalities gain such followings–why do I choose to follow who I follow online? What makes someone appealing?
“Inbox Full” was definitely a product of my situation. At the height of my Tumblr “fame,” I began to notice major changes in the way people would interact with me online. The Tumblr “Ask” button sort of allowed this influx of anonymous communication–anyone can contact you, and anyone can tell you what they think of you. And all anyone wants to see–when they send someone a message, especially something negative–is a public reaction or response. I had thousands of messages in my inbox, both positive and negative. It was a way to acknowledge everyone as well as a way to purge and sort of wipe that digital slate clean.
RH: A lot of your press and presence in the art world seems intrinsically tied to your social media persona. Did you find that to be a help or a hindrance?
MS: The Internet has gotten me further than going to art school ever has.
RH: Ha. You’ve addressed the unique aspect of tween girl friendships in the context of new technology, like your “Tween Dreams” and sleepover videos. How do these stack up to your own adolescent experiences?
MS: “Tween Dreams” is very much based off of my actual adolescent experiences. I set out to make something more realistic with that series–something that reflected the reality of being a tween more so than the stuff I watched (and hoped for) when I was a tween. Also, something that actually looks like it would be made by a tween. It was important to me to put less focus on crushes, boys, not liking other girls and more focus on female friendships.
RH: How do you think these tween experiences changed/are changing with technology?
MS: I’m sure the tween experience is completely different from when I was growing up. What’s the equivalent to AIM now? That’s how I communicated with everyone after school… how I got my first boyfriends, etc. Does everyone just text?
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram didn’t exist… I don’t even think MySpace was a thing yet? Smart phones weren’t a thing. I got my first cell phone at 14. The list goes on. I only used to the Internet to take online quizzes, talk to my friends on AIM and play Neopets.
It’s vastly different! I’m sure the social codes for how to interact online with each other have changed as well because there is such an influx of new technology and rapid communication. [It] would be interesting to dig deeper–[I] feel like now that I’m not a tween, I’ll never fully comprehend it.
RH: You’ve incorporated a lot of occult elements in your work, particularly with the creation of your colorful and idyllic digital spell book. How do these practices fit into your work?
MS: I’m not a witch by any means. The Spell Book was sort of a way for me to try and incorporate our digital lives into our spiritual lives. Because the digital is so present and so fluid, it makes sense to want to reach some sort of clarity through our screens. I’m always thinking of ways to virtually cleanse myself–there’s a lot of clutter and stress that happens online that isn’t really talked about–perhaps because it doesn’t feel as palpable.
RH: Your work has a very early Internet, 2000s vibe to it at times, can you speak a bit more to that?
MS: This is mostly a product of what I grew up with. There’s something comforting in the glitter graphic. There’s something mildly liberating and chaotic about design sensibilities from the early 2000s. Everything now is a bit streamlined, you can only customize your user profiles so much–it can feel stifling, and I like to get away from that in my work.
RH: A lot of your work directly confronts social media sharing, and you’ve gone out of your way to post images of yourself that many may be more hesitant to share online. For example, your “Should I send this” nudes or any “less than flattering” images of yourself. Would you say your work comments more on a new culture of over-sharing or more on over-produced, highly-selective sharing?
MS: Just because I’m “over-sharing” and posting unflattering photos of myself does not mean I’m not curating my image to a certain degree. We all are. There’s no shame in that. For every selfie I take, there are at least 10 that didn’t “work” for me. I’m no more “real” than anyone who retouches their photos.
RH: When making these pieces, do you ever delete something you’ve put up?
MS: I generally don’t delete anything I post. It’s all up there, as embarrassing as some things may be. Owning up to embarrassment or shame is the best way to work past it.
RH: What’s your big dream for your art as of late? If someone gave you a huge grant what would you do with it?
MS: There are a lot of pieces I want to make that can’t be realized because of financial limitations. My dream is to ultimately be able to make the work I want to make and live comfortably off of it. It’s not a “big” dream, but it often feels impossible because of how money is displaced in this world–artists put so much work in and are expected to do it for free constantly.
If I were to receive a huge sum of money, I’d put it into public spaces. I want to make work that can be inhabited IRL as well as online outside of a gallery. I’m interested in parks and would like to eventually do a piece where I create my own fantasy park that people can visit.
RH: What have you read, recently or not so recently, that has inspired your work?
MS: I misread a sign that said “no cycling,” and I thought it said “no crying.” That one’s stuck with me for the past few months.
Witness Magazine: The Spectacle Issue
The Witness Magazine “Spectacle” issue is now available. And yes, it is spectacular. If you’re at AWP, come check it out at booth 1106. A publication of Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, Witness highlights the role of the modern writer as witness to his or her times. If you’re interested in free back issues for your class, drop us a line at email@example.com. Visit us online at witnessmag.org.
Intermedia Grad Student Shiloh Ashley has been hard at work preparing for their thesis show, including the arduous task of constructing their own language. Our Art Editor, Regan Henley was lucky enough to get some time with Shiloh to talk about this process and see what exactly this whole project entails.
Regan Henley: So, my understanding is that you are creating your own language as part of your thesis. Can you speak a little about that?
Shiloh Ashley: I am very interested in languages, codes, puzzles, and games, and the ways in which these things intersect during play. I wanted to deepen my knowledge and expand my understanding of the how language, codes, puzzles, and games influence communication and interpersonal relationships. I felt that the best way to investigate the dynamics between the intersections of those elements and how they lead to transformation would be to create my own language.
RH: This project is obviously a huge undertaking. What has been your process throughout this work? Have you been following some outline for creating language or is it more of an intuitive task?
SA: I am working intuitively with a plan of action, which means that I set aside time to focus on only writing, only music, only building, etc., and the work develops from there. It helps me to corral my thoughts but not limit them too much to a set of expectations as I find art has a way of making itself regardless of what, I, as the artist think it should be.
RH: Has language always had an important element in your work, or is this a more recent fascination of yours?
SA: Language has been a constant in my work.
Language is important to me because I believe languages are adventurous journeys to new worlds, not just verbal or gestural languages, but also languages like mathematics, coding, and the use of acronyms in cyberspace. There are many different ways to say the same thing, there are similar ways to say different things, and too many ways to say the wrong thing.
RH: Do you think language plays an important role in defining personal identity to you? And if so, what are you saying in creating your own?
SA: I grew up in a multilingual setting. My family is Lakota from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, and so I grew up around English and Lakota. I got in trouble in first grade for coloring out of the lines on a picture of a pig that we were going to cut out and put on a wall. In protest of getting reprimanded by the teacher, I called her a name in Lakota and was sent to the principal’s office. I learned that there was a lot of power in terms of what is said, who is saying it, and who what is being said is being said to.
Also around that time, my parents worked at a summer camp along the Missouri River, and the majority of the counselors were international coming from Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Australia, Jordan, and Japan. It exposed me to the world in a way that still informs my curiosity about people and how lives are lived across the globe.
Outside of those experiences, I took a couple years of Spanish, learned to read music, became interested in technology, and am learning to code.
I have in the last year started to learn Lakota. The extent of my knowledge comes from language used in ceremony and things I remember from my aunts and uncles. My parents spoke mostly English. It is important for me to reconnect with the language of my people because it connects me to who I am, where I come from, and the values of my people. All of these languages are important to me because they help me understand and process the world. I am creating my own language because I feel a responsibility to communicate sincerely with the world in an attempt to join in on the conversations that address issues related to our planet and the future of humanity.
RH: The idea of ceremony definitely seems present in how you construct language. Last semester I got to see you do a performance art piece at a live art platform in which you used audience participation and line dancing to teach participants your new language. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
SA: Line dances and dance crazes interest me because they facilitate space for temporary communities to come together for about five minutes to just have a good time. Momentarily, race, sex, class, gender, politics, and prejudice are suspended, and people just dance. There are other ways of looking at it, but I am focusing on work that brings people together, and I felt like the line dance was a good way to integrate learning, performance, and participation into the work.
RH: Will you be following this line of thought (doing any more line dancing/performative elements) in your thesis show?
SA: I sure hope so! Bring your dancing shoes just in case.
RH: This work has definitely been a long time coming for you, given your background and experiences it seems. What have you learned throughout this process?
SA: The most helpful thing I’ve learned is about having the patience to allow space for the work to evolve and to trust that it will eventually come to make some sort of sense. It is new territory, and I am very excited about the process moving toward thesis show as I am approaching the work in a more focused manner now that the foundations of the language have been established.
RH: Last but not least, where can we see you and your work?
The Berkeley Fiction Review is a UC Berkeley undergraduate, student-run publication. We look for innovative short fiction that plays with form and content, as well as traditionally constructed stories with fresh voices and original ideas. Ultimately, we seek to contribute to literature’s on-going evolution.
We invite submissions of previously unpublished short stories year round and publish annually. Submissions are free. Contributors whose stories are published receive one free copy of the issue their story appears in. We also host fiction contests and nominate to O. Henry, Best American Short Stories, and Pushcart prizes. Click the link to learn more about the submission guidelines: http://berkeleyfictionreview.com/submit/
Our Art Editor, Regan Henley, conducted an interview with Artist Ashley Czajkowski, whose work appears in Issue 15. They discuss Ashley’s post-grad work, her artistic process, and her involvement with the Creative Push project.
Regan Henley: Last time we saw you you were finishing up your MFA within the School of Art, and completing your thesis show. Now that you’ve graduated, what are you up to?
Ashley Czajkowski: I’m adjunct teaching, I teach Photo II Darkroom at ASU which I absolutely love. The amount of energy I can put into teaching now as opposed to when I was in grad school is so much more that I’m giving a lot more to the students, and because of that I’m getting much more back. I’m also adjunct teaching at Scottsdale Community College which is a totally different and amazing experience teaching one large 5-hour studio class with Photo I, Photo II, Photo III, Photo IV, advanced projects and alternative process in one five hour block. I’m working on the Creative Push project with Forrest Sollis interviewing and editing women’s labor and delivery stories. It’s amazing. I feel like I’ve honed a lot of skills with that, but I’m also meeting people and talking to other other women and artists. It’s almost like a curatorial thing as well. I’m also an event coordinator for eye lounge now.
RH: Your thesis show “Unbecoming” was about animalistic instincts, and the human connection with “wildness.” You made a whole installation of found birds and exposed them on light-sensitive paper. Are you continuing the series?
AC: I am, but I started changing them. So, I’m exposing them on fabric with liquid light and putting them into these [embroidery hoops]. I’m not sure how I feel about them yet, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of domesticity, and domestic acts. I think it’s interesting, the idea of taking something wild and making it tame. It’s that idea of domesticity as it relates to femininity, but also in the act or making them, and collecting the birds. Using the fabric, they become more abstract, which I like. They start to look like celestial bodies, or moons.
RH: Was it natural to just continue this work? Was there a struggle to decide to move on or forward with it?
AC: It was actually the easiest thing to continue doing what I was before, I think there’s a lot of pressure as artists to reinvent the wheel every time we make something. I was thinking about having a new show, and I definitely want it to be different than the way it was before, but there will be some overlap because I’m still thinking about a lot of the same things. Just because I’ve finished a thesis show doesn’t mean that work has been fully explored. There is a common thing though that happens after grad school, and I’ve talked to a lot of other people about this, but there is this weird lull that happens. But it didn’t take me long to pick it back up. I just have to be making, but I’m trying to push it further.
RH: What about your process now? You’re not in school, your schedule is very different and no one is making you create. What’s it like working with less structure?
AC: In some ways it helps to be home a lot more. I’ve found the video-making to be a lot more difficult, but the object-making has been a lot easier. It’s a weird sort of balance. The pressure to make in school is much different. But part of what grad school is, and I’ve had lots of professors tell me this, is that before you leave you should understand your studio practice and being able to perpetuate that without “goals.”
RH: Without that structure, how has the critique process changed for you now that you’re out of school? Now that you don’t have structured spaces to refine your work?
AC: That was the thing I realized I was going to miss right away, that community and those conversations. Luckily, my partner is also an artist so that makes it nice to bounce ideas off of. But that’s one of the reasons I’ve joined the eye lounge. We’re actually working on setting up some 17th century style salons, where people come and put up a bunch of work and have conversations. It will be early spring, it’s a cooperation between the art grads group and eye lounge. So I’m forcing that critique space to happen.
RH: Does your art making feel less intense now? Or, I should say, do you feel less pressure to create?
AC: In grad school you feel like you never have enough time, I always felt like I always have to be more prolific than I was. I think that kind of external pressure is gone, but I don’t want to say that it’s less intense because I feel like that implies it’s conceptually less intense which isn’t the case. I have more time to really investigate more. I’m making stuff, but really I’m feeding myself more, reading theory and external things but also reading into my own work more. Which I think is really beneficial.
RH: What have you been reading?
AC: It’s been a combination of lots of things. I’ve been reading some psychoanalytical theory about pregnancy and childbirth as I’m working on the Creative Push project. I’m also constantly referring to this book, “The Book of Symbols” by the archive for research in archetypal symbolism which I jokingly call my bible. It’s basically an anthology of archetypal symbols and imagery. Every time there’s something that comes up in my work, I look it up in this book. I’ve also been reading a lot of photography theory which I got in my last year of school, which goes into poststructuralist theory, which gets into some pretty heavy stuff.
RH: The Creative Push project seems to be particularly close to your heart at the moment. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
AC: Forrest Sollis started this project called the Creative Push after she had her first child, and she was going to make a body of work about the experience, and she was having a hard time finding artwork out there that was about the genuine labor and delivery experience from a woman’s first-hand perspective. So, there are some stories out there and recent critique about it, but she wanted to create a platform where women could share their stories and artists could make work in response to those stories. The platform really is the website, which is creativepush.org, but we will eventually has some physical exhibitions in the spring. It’s been an amazing experience. The stories are incredible. I feel like this whole pool of knowledge used to be an oral tradition that women would pass on to each other, but it became really taboo in history, so it’s kind of something that you don’t really talk about. It’s just supposed to be this magical experience – which it is in many ways – but it’s also traumatic and transformative.
RH: Are you still looking for participants?
AC: Yes! That is a great question. We are still looking for participants as storytellers and artists, there is a participate form you can fill out on the website.
RH: Fantastic. Last question here: Where else can we see you these days?
AC: You can always see my work online on my website. Now that I’m a member of eye lounge, I will be participating in a group show in December, I will have my solo show at eye lounge in Phoenix in February, another group show in March. Definitely check it out.