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.
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.