Notebook Vol.4 No.2, 2010

Launching New Directions @ Studio


Biltmore Hotel, Stained Glass Panel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
©Rishma Dunlop

With this issue I’m proud to launch Studio, the online literary journal, in a new direction. The literary environment is changing and we are changing with it. Our redesign was necessary to welcome submissions of hybrid forms, multi-media pieces that combine text, audio, video, and other graphic elements, and to accommodate the digital advances taking shape in online media.

Follow the section prompts, and you’ll discover an array of national and international poets, writers and artists who are a pleasure to connect to and read.  In the Poetry section, you’ll encounter new works by Lesley Wheeler, winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Prize for her book Heterotopia, the poems of internationally published Janice Soderling, and the distinct poetic voice of Karen Solie, Canada’s latest Griffin Poetry Prize winner. In our Fiction section, I’m pleased to provide our Studio readers with an advance read of Ray Robertson’s “I was there the night he died,” the first chapter of his forthcoming novel.

Arizona writers, in the new Folio section

I introduce the Folio section with a brief description of my recent Fulbright Fellowship at Arizona State University, as well as my essay, “Turquoise, Water and Sky,” about my residency in Arizona. During my four month stay in the Phoenix area I encountered several exceptional and engaging Arizona writers.  They inspired me to inaugurate the new Folio section, which will regularly feature a selection of writers under a single theme or from a specific location. In this Folio, readers will discover talented artists working in Arizona, a desert-country culture where the heat often brings out what’s bred in the bone, as the three poets I have selected —Alberto Rios, Sally Ball, and Roma Deeley—reveal. Arizona writers and artists are also showcased in our Translation section (Alberto Rios and Sylvain Gallais), the Video section (Lois Roma Deeley, Cynthia Hogue and Rebecca Ross), the Education section (Rosalynn Voaden and students of English 294), and in the Gallery (Cynthia Hogue and Rebecca Ross).

Studio’s Education section is introduced by Rosalynn Voaden, a professor of English at Arizona State University, and features a collaborative lyric essay written by the students in her undergraduate literature course. The essay, “Sex, Death and Snow: Reading Canadian Literature in Arizona” is both allusive and instructive, and shows us how students of literature read Canadian fiction, and how reading these stories in the desert is at once enriching and dislocating. Student Jourdan Hercsek, who coordinated the initiative of this collaborative essay, writes: “The intent of the piece was to chronicle our experience of reading some of the most renowned Canadian novels of the contemporary era while residing in Arizona. The emotional and literary journey we all took created beautiful worlds for us to inhabit, but we still felt like our true understanding of Canada was crippled due to our desert location.”

Studio’s Translation section features English to French translation by Sylvain Gallais of a short story, “The Iguana Killer,” by Alberto Rios. Both writers live, work, and publish in Arizona. Also showcased are three new and imaginative translations of renowned poet Paul Celan by Steven Heighton, a Canadian poet and novelist.

Poet and avid cultural critic Christopher Doda draws our attention in the Reviews section to the moving poems of Vitzslav Nezval in Prague With Fingers of Rain, translated by Ewald Osers. Nezval’s book, mostly written in the 1930s, is re-introduced to the public at large by the great Czech novelist Ivan Klima.

Finally, in Gallery, I am pleased to publish remarkable excerpts by Arizona poet Cynthia Hogue and photographer Rebecca Ross from When the Waters Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, their collaborative book about the devastating impact of Katrina on New Orleans residents. Cynthia Hogue’s work is to my mind a unique poetic example of a radical ethnography that aims to combine meticulous research and artistic creation.

Many thanks to Martin Elliott, our talented web designer.  Studio’s new look could not have been launched without him. My thanks also to Mark Tearle and Rebecca Ross for their arresting photographic works, and special thanks to David Sobelman for his literary and editorial savvy. Watch for new features in our summer issue, including a News section on contributors, and details on Studio’s upcoming literary contest.

Rishma Dunlop
Editor, Studio