Michael Calvert, Vancouver Island University creative writing and journalism instructor, left, Vinci Lam, Portal magazine publicist, and Spenser Smith, managing editor, celebrated the launch of Portal’s latest edition last month.                                 RACHEL STERN / The News Bulletin
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Michael Calvert, Vancouver Island University creative writing and journalism instructor, left, Vinci Lam, Portal magazine publicist, and Spenser Smith, managing editor, celebrated the launch of Portal’s latest edition last month. RACHEL STERN / The News Bulletin

VIDEO: Portal is a gateway into the creative minds of Vancouver Island University students

Latest edition launched in early April

Portal magazine is a gateway into the creative minds of Vancouver Island University students.

The annual literary magazine is published by VIU students under the guidance of a professor.

“Every year our mandate is to publish the best fiction, non-fiction, poetry and scripts that VIU students have to offer,” said Spenser Smith, managing editor.

Electronic voting for pieces was introduced this year. Smith said he felt electronic voting made the process more “fair and equal.”

This year the “fiction pieces were strong,” said Smith, adding that there is also more content from students enrolled in the First Nations studies program.

“I think the content that came out of that program this year was exceptionally good. We are very happy to have several pieces from First Nation students in this year’s edition,” said Michael Calvert, Portal instructor and creative writing and journalism professor.

This year’s edition includes interviews with Canadian poets Robert Bringhurst and Erín Moure.

“For Robert’s interview the topic was centred around the balance between typography and poetry … and the influences of one over the other, if there were any, and his thoughts on how those two things might affect one another or not,” said Calvert.

Moure’s interview focuses on her poetry translation and language work.

Students worked with a graphic designer to create a more eye-catching cover this year. Both the title and cover images are outlined in gloss.

“It’s just one of those things that makes the magazine stand out and I am proud of the fact we did something a bit different to make it stand out, especially if you are standing in front of a news stand deciding on something different to buy, it really helps it pop out,” said Smith.

Calvert, said for him as the instructor, what he loves about Portal is that students are put in situations very similar to what they would encounter in the publishing industry.

“Everybody involved has a taste of what it’s like to be involved in the publishing industry and to be able to walk away with an artifact and feel proud of it,” said Calvert.

Vinci Lam, Portal’s publicist, is majoring in psychology with a creative writing minor. Lam said because of the class she is now leaning toward a career in publishing.

“This is a really great class especially with the incorporation of the business aspect. I thought that was really helpful to understand the publishing part and the writing part, but also how to finance the magazine and how you push it out for a launch.”

Portal is sold at Literacy Nanaimo, the VIU bookstore and is distributed in bookstores across Canada.

For more information, please visit http://portalmagazine.ca.


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