Forum Reading at Rosenberg Library

We would like to announce a reading May 21 at Rosenberg Library to celebrate the unveiling of the Spring issue of Forum. All are invited, contributors are invited to read and receive a free copy of the magazine. There will also be an open mic for everyone else as well as refreshments. So come on down.

Friday, May 21

11:00 am-12:30 pm,

Rosenberg Library Room 304

Living The Dream

by Kwame Opoku-Duku

About a year and a half ago, CCSF student April Martin Chartrand decided that she needed to leave a legacy.  She had been sharing her poetry among friends and co-workers and getting positive responses, especially considering she’d essentially never taken an English class that wasn’t absolutely required for her B.A. in Creative Arts.  And on top of that, she’s dyslexic.

A self-described “perfectionist to a fault,” she decided to use all of her talents to complete a project that was 20 years in the making, using over 70 poems she had written over the years, and her own illustrations.  The finished product was “Angel’s Destiny,” which was written in the style of a novel, the end of each chapter leading to a new step in a spiritual journey.

The subject matter was born from an abusive marriage that Chartrand left in 1993.  The poems that she wrote helped her own healing process and appeared on national television as well as radio.  The four chapters of poetry, Illusions, Anger, Awareness, and Love helped her progress her journey of self-discovery and she hopes it will help the readers do the same.

When it came time to publish her finished work, Chartrand took conventional steps and began sending out queries and manuscripts but in her mind she knew that she was going to self-publish, so she could maintain complete artistic control.

“Poetry is the step-child of the publishing world and does not sell well unless you are a big name like Alice Walker or a newly selected poet laureate.”  Not to mention that she included her original illustrations, clearly not the most obvious marketing decision from a new author.  In the end, she chose to go it on her own and publish her book through www.createspace.com, a decision she has not regretted.  Her legacy, her way.

To find out more about “Angel’s Destiny,” visit www.angelsdestiny2009.blogspot.com

Switchback, University of San Francisco’s Literary Magazine

by Cara Baker

Switchback is a literary magazine published by the graduate students of the USF MFA program. Their website is well put together, my favorite being their links page which connects their readership with other literary magazines, affordable web design companies and literary venues. Definitely check out their links. They may prove very useful to you.

The group publishes two issues per year in the fall and spring, coinciding with the school semester. Each issue has a theme and it is always something vs. something. For example, their last issue was titled Process vs. Product. Past issues include Stillness vs. Frenzy and Confession vs Mask. Only critical essays and artwork need to relate to the theme. If they publish your work you will be included in their contributor bio section. They take electronic submissions twice per year and accept outside submissions as well as from USF students and faculty. They require the genre and title in the subject line and the work as an attachment. Submitters may not include their name in the attachment in order to keep everything anonymous which I think appeals to those whose work is being judged. Artists, take note; they have a limited amount of artwork and are looking for more submissions so send in your best work. Just make sure it ties in to their theme for the issue. You will need to send an explanation on how your piece relates to the their theme. Each semester they throw a launch party to which everyone is welcome. The readings at these events are archived in in the magazine’s online video section and on You Tube.

If you are not planning to submit to the magazine please at least check it out. It is a well made magazine and it is clear that much effort goes into selecting fine work. The selection of poetry pushes the boundaries and is often experimental in nature. The art reflects this aesthetic as well. I feel that many of the pieces will beg another reading and they certainly challenge the reader to think about what they’ve just read.

If You Like Us You Might Also Like…

By Sean Hewitt-Mallet

Do you like the type of work that Forum is doing? Would you like to pursue your literary reading or writing beyond the hallowed gates of the college community? Then may I suggest that you check out the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP).

The CLMP, which has been around in some form or other since the late 1960’s, and has been online in its current form since 2000, was meant as an intersection of independents in the publishing industry, at the CLMP website, located at www.clmp.org , you can find a directory of near a thousand independent literary presses and literary magazines from all over. From the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal  located here in San Francisco, to the Hollyridge Press (http://www.hollyridgepress.com/) in Venice California, the Boston Review (http://bostonreview.net/) which is published out of Massachusetts or even as far as 96inc which at the very least is written in Japanese – just to name a few.

Of course just because it has a large number of diverse magazines and presses in its registry does not mean that there aren’t any that CLMP skipped over; Paris based 3:AM Magazine (http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/) with its slogan of “Whatever it is, we’re against it” provides fiction, poetry, interviews, critical writing, and non-fiction to its readers, online only, social justice focused, identity theory (http://www.identitytheory.com/), or apparently the oldest surviving online literary magazine ECLECTICA Magazine (http://www.eclectica.org/) are all  seemingly missing from the CLMP database.

So if you are a writer or a reader and you want to do more of either keep your eyes open, because there are plenty of opportunities out there to expand your literary world.

“this ain’t no mecca” by Ayo Khensu-Ra

this ain’t no mecca

by Ayo Khensu-Ra

the line spreading out in the dark
drawing itself under the car past
denny’s and white castle, gas stations

huddling together under rough
bristles of an old gray blanket
Toyota van our walls
the prairie and marching rock
rising beyond the windows
slipping away toward the wide
darkening sea

clouds flushed
with light like blood
playing through
the latticework
of our palms

music booms out into the night
the van stands in another parking lot
and you talk about the pad of paper
you left at home, the gray-black
murmurings of your hands
the whisperings of your hands, of
ink and charcoal, of pad and pencil

day stumbles on to day, you say
how lovely the sunset is out past the bridge
past Land’s End, when the misty wall breaks
and the bounds of the world are again boundless.

I pick up a package of our things
papers calling like white sails from the sea
calling like the windy heights of home
and I know we’ll drive, ramps and
buildings sprawling out below, planes
drawing invisible lines in the sky

listen to echoes of announcements
wait in black chairs
listen for embraces

we’ll turn
I’ll turn
back to my van, back to Gilman
or farther and farther south
or to islands in the ocean

“Doctors, Gods” by Evan Jones

Doctors, Gods

by Evan Jones

White mice, white
90 degree coat edges
below knees-I have
a history of
not trying to have
a history
with them,
if you know what I mean.
never could get too
comfortable as they always seemed a little
too comfortable with
me, my flesh me,
and its theoretical, but still
entirely possible
end.

What will I do
if and when
they should begin
living
in the next room
of this
and every other
house
after it
from now on?

Thanks!

A big thank you to those of you who submitted their work, we have gotten a ton of great stuff and we’re working on putting it all together. There will be a bit more going on here on the blog in the coming weeks, a couple of big announcements as well so stay tuned.

City College of San Francisco's Literary Magazine