A Nanaimo spoken word group is putting together a new online art and literature magazine and submissions are now open.
Poets, writers and visual artists from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands have from now until Dec. 31 to submit work to WordStorm Society of the Arts’s new Counterflow magazine. The theme for the inaugural issue, set to be released March 2022, is “beginnings.”
“We’re challenging people to think about their own work and what we’re hoping to see is people really being inventive around how they’re thinking about their work,” WordStorm artistic director Carla Stein said.
She said launching a publication has always been a goal for WordStorm, but the group never had the capacity to do so. This year, thanks to a City of Nanaimo grant and the addition of board member Amber Morrison Fox, who publishes her own art magazine, WordStorm finally has the resources and experience to create its own publication. The plan is for Counterflow to be a yearly magazine, and after a few issues are released a print anthology will follow.
“We decided that because we’re not doing in-person events still because of COVID that this would be an opportune time to take a different tack and begin to move into a way that people can still communicate on a written level but not have to have the issues around in-person events,” Stein said.
The guest editor for the first issue of Counterflow is award-winning Bowen Island poet Susan Alexander. She said it’s appropriate that the theme of book is “beginnings,” as this is her first time serving as an adjudicator.
“I have submitted so many pieces to so many anthologies over the years and publications and submitting whole books to publishers and shopping things around that I think this is going to be fun to be on the other side,” she said.
Alexander said what she’s looking for in submissions, and what she said makes her “old fashioned,” is not only that the work is well crafted, “fresh” and with superb imagery and rhythm, “I also want something that will touch my heart.”
“I think the other stuff is all really important, the technical ability and the art of the poem, but I feel like if it doesn’t land that ‘yes,’ that moment of honesty, there’s something missing…” Alexander said. “And it doesn’t have to be a big, eternal truth or anything. It can be just a shared moment, some kind of honesty or vulnerability that is there on the page that changes me as a reader.”