behind the scenes

Meet the Spring 2013 Staff

Jerome Steegmans, General Editor
Author. Editor. Occultist. Publisher. On my bedside table: Terisa Batista; Home From the Wars by Jorge Amado; Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston; Norse Mythology and the Modern Human Being by Ernst Uehli; The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi; the February 2013 issue of Poetry; the Winter 2012 issue of The Paris Review; A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson; The Red Book (or Liber Novus, a reader’s edition) by C.G. Jung; The Old Testament, by God (sic). On my eReader: Finnegans Wake by James Joyce; Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov; Nine Lectures on Bees by Rudolf Steiner; Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace; The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick; the Alan Moore stretch of Swamp Thing. Perhaps I am reading too many things at once …

Seth Luther, Managing Editor
Seth Luther is the managing editor this semester for Forum Magazine. He is currently reading Kobo Abe. He also likes very much Kafka and Vonnegut. He is also the mastermind behind Magicwear Manwear Underwear: a manufacturer of manly magical underwear designed specifically for men who are magicians. His efficiency studio apartment receives no light causing mold to grow on his face instead of facial hair.

Nick Witstok, Fiction Editor
Nick Witstok is in his third year at City College and is a fiction junkie/editor at Forum. He has taken a handful of creative writing classes, reads Cormac McCarthy almost religiously, writes surreal/dark fiction, jams at local metal shows, and is currently working on a story which will undoubtedly drive him insane. Also enjoys Faulkner, Hemingway, Thomas Harris, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Joseph Conrad, Tim O’ Brien and The Art of War. (more…)

Week 16: At Semester’s End

by Ayo Khensu-Ra

Monday was the final class period for Forum this semester. In a way it’s hard to believe it’s all over and done with but within a week we (and you) could be holding a copy of the completed magazine, the very thing all that work was for.

Monday was the last class but it was far from typical. We talked about a few things, the upcoming reading, handed in final portfolios, got old work back. It was a quiet evening far removed from all those nights filled with proofreading, discussion and decision. In the past we’ve had food and drink on the last day of class; once we went out for coffee. In other words, this end of semester was slightly anticlimactic as life often is. There is also the upcoming reading at L’s Caffee which should make for a bit of a celebration. I suppose I’m commenting on the strangeness of ending up somewhere that is quite different from where we started. But could it really happen any other way? It was dark when class broke up on the first night and now that it’s another season, it was still light on that final day (also class ended a bit earlier). Time marches on. And cliché as it may sound I certainly learned new things about myself and about the process of producing Forum even though it wasn’t my first rodeo.

Although before I go suggesting the destination isn’t important I should probably say that in this case it is — the destination being the magazine. It’s almost here and again, you can pick up a copy next Thursday at the reading at L’s Caffee. I think I can speak for the entire Forum staff when I say I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Weeks Five and Six

by Ayo Khensu-Ra

Week Five
As I’ve noted before, the our class time has been much reduced thanks to three holidays in the early part of the semester. And in week four* we had our reading as chronicled so well by Michael…Finally we were back to a more regular class and it was much needed in the poetry group as we had only had one short session thus far. Kaylo and I are co-poetry editors and we’re joined by readers Monty and Kristine — Kristine being a late and much welcome addition to the group. We shuffled off to an empty classroom to get down to discussion. Class meets in a computer classroom which has its benefits but isn’t the most condusive to discussion. How much can I really write about talking? Probably not a whole lot. I will say that the discussion is one of the things I always find the most interesting and stimulating — talking about what works and what doesn’t in a given poem, hearing different perspectives, views I perhaps would not have come to. We got through several submissions and, excitingly, we got our first solid ‘yes’ of the semester. We did have some strong ‘maybes’ in our first session but in week five were the first we all really liked, the first pretty much assured to be going into the magazine. Of course, time was still short and while we got plenty done there was still much more to do…


Week Six

And considering all there was to do, I was a tad worried during the week. It bears mentioning that we had to have a pretty good idea of what was going in by the end of class on Monday. An out-of-class meeting would’ve helped but that didn’t quite square with everyone’s schedules but Monty and I met before class and narrowed the field a bit. In class, we were joined by Steve who kindly offered to lend a hand (and read all the submissions in a day or so (90+). It was another good discussion, once again taking place in an empty room. There were plenty more ‘yeses,’ a lot of good poetry, a lot of agreement, some healthy disagreement and when time was up we had a pretty good idea of what was going in.

We also had an assignment to critique a short story and the whole class talked about the assignment and story itself (more the story than the assignment.) The class wheeled our chairs out from behind the desks and formed a circle — or perhaps more of an oval — to talk. The story was interesting from a technical standpoint, and engendered various reactions from the class.

*I am counting only weeks we have actually had class, perhaps it would be more precise to say class number five but I think week five sounds better. 

Week Four / Reading One

by Michael Thomson

Last monday we had our first reading for the Spring 2012 issue of Forum. If you missed it, you missed a lot. If you were there, then you know how good it was. We started the evening by enjoying the wonderful guitar stylings of CCSF instructor Steve Mayer.

In addition to the many faces, new and familiar that showed up to read and listen to poetry, and fiction, we had in attendance Dean Ms. Bob Davis. You also may have recognized from our English department, professor Ellen Wall, and Louise Nayer, former Forum advisor and the author of Burned: A Memoir.

Between the readings we raffled off a couple gift certificates to Books Inc. as well as to a local movie theatre. Also in the raffle mix were books and a Fall 2011 copy of Forum. If you stuck around you would have enjoyed SF’s local beat poet Diamond Dave showing us how it’s done with a mic. A grand time was had by all! We at Forum would like to thank all who attended and helped us raise some funds for our next issue of Forum. Last but certainly not least we’d like to thank John and Jen, our advisors for their continuing support. Stay tuned here for our next reading.

Michael Thomson is Forum‘s General Editor
Mario, one of our fiction readers did some live sketches of the event — you may have seen them on Twitter  but if not, here they are.

Week Two

by Ayo Khensu-Ra

Yes, there was a week two. Several people have joined up and apparently we’re now fine on numbers so we get to keep doing this.

This week Jen taught the class and she announced the filling of a few of the key editing positions based on applications we completed last week. Several, like me, are returning for another semester with Forum — Michael Thomson the new general editor; one of the two managing editors Kat Cabral;  fiction editors Chanelle Loftness and Truc Nguyen. In addition, a new guy Howard Halverson is the other managing editor. Forum is also a club and the club officers also bear mentioning — president Tim St. Croix,  treasurer Steve Pineda and club rep Travis Jones.

So, it was down to business. Kyanne Rose, last semester’s managing editor stopped by to show a thing or two to the new managing editors,  submissions began to be distributed to be read by the staff, some looking into visiting classes in order to solicit submissions, some visited classes and put up more flyers. As you can tell, there are already a million things to do and to borrow a phrase from one of our previous general editors, we’re already behind  since we opened the semester with two Monday holidays in a row and hence didn’t have a class until the third week of the semester. At any rate, the crew seems energetic and well-motivated — onward!

Week One

by Ayo Khensu-Ra

Well this is embarrassing. I scheduled this post for tonight without actually writing the post and thus it went up without there being much any text. Why is it a post for last Friday when it’s clearly Tuesday? Long story but in mostly unrelated news last night was the first night of class for English 14, the class that produces Forum. It was all very familiar and also different in some unexpected ways. As is typical for just about any class, we went over the syllabus, discussed what would we would be doing in class and we took part in an introductory exercise. That was all expected but on the other hand, there were a number of Fourmites who, like me, were back for another round. On some level I’d thought it would be nice to see some familiar faces but I had no  idea I would be as happy as I was to see my “old” classmates (it’s not like it has been that long since we’ve been classmates) and our faculty advisors Jen Sullivan Brych and John Isles.

There were also new people and it was nice meeting them. There are issues however — in such tight budgetary times, there’s little leeway for classes without sufficient enrollment and unfortunately that may be English 14. So if you’re a City College student and have any interest in publishing, in assembling a literary magazine or if you’re a former Forum staffer ready to come back into the fold, we could really use you. Class meets Mondays at 5:30 in ARTX 265.

And as the ‘Week One’ at the top of the page might indicate, this is the first in what I hope will be a regular feature here on Boeotia —  a weekly chronicle of the goings on in class, a look behind the scenes…that is assuming there’s a class to write about. Sorry, I’m ending on a bit of a downer.