Obra/Artifact is the graduate literary journal for Stetson University's MFA of the Americas. They are a semiannual journal seeking to publish a diverse set of poetry and prose in April and October of each year and are currently open to submissions for multilingual prose and poetry. “Issue #5 will put the spotlight on our multilingual world and on cross-cultural experiences with language. Pieces should be bi- or multi-lingual. Translations also accepted (please submit those under the translation category). Experimental work and work that redefines genre, as always, is highly desired.”
I wondered how and why this journal came to be, so I asked Editor-in-Chief Lucianna Chixaro Ramos a few questions to find out. See my interview with Chixaro and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Obra/Artifact.
CHIXARO: Obra/Artifact is the journal of the MFA of the Americas at Stetson University. The core of our mission is to make experimental literature accessible. We strive to publish a diverse set of writers as well as a diverse set of forms. In stride with Stetson’s MFA of the Americas, we celebrate the blurring of genres and identities, the fluidity of language, and the strength of collaboration. We are also committed to fostering literary citizenship within the program and beyond, creating opportunities for students and local writers to meet, engage, and create together.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Obra/Artifact originally started?
CHIXARO: Obra/Artifact started during a MFA of the Americas residency in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We were exposed to so much art and literature--art truly inhabits the city of San Miguel. it made us think deeply about the connections between visual and literary arts. At that time, our MFA program did not yet have a literary journal. Rebecca Renner approached myself and another colleague and together we began this journey into lit mag publishing. With the help of our interim Director, Juan Reyes, we quickly acquired funding from Stetson University. You can read more about our beginnings here: Lines of Sight: On the Creation of a Literary Magazine.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
CHIXARO: Anyone who is interested in looking at contemporary works that blur the lines of genre. Anyone interested in the connection between the literary and visual arts.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
CHIXARO: Direct from our genre editors--
Nikki Barnes, Poetry Editor: Great work seems to follow that famous definition: you know it when you see it. A piece is or can be good for many reasons, and what I say may not be that helpful to someone looking for guidelines but I'll share my own schema for evaluating work, nonetheless. A great work must possess a strong voice; it must be well-developed (not a sketch/draft); it must display a masterful use of language(s); it should consider the visual. A great work should also wrestle with or suggest insight, or frames/reframes common narratives. Various other definitions have been offered by great writers -- and most of them are about the response in the reader. So, causing a strong, often visceral, response in the reader is usually a good sign.
Jacklyn Gion, Fiction Editor: I want to see work that takes a risk and allows the opportunity for a mess. Not that the work itself is messy or unrefined, but it reflects the mess of the world, the mess of the space to which it attempts to write. We yearn for experimental and want to see it in all its extensions.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
Nikki Barnes, Poetry Editor: I'd like to see work that has a sense of time and timing--whether it is personal/political, response to living at this point along a very wide timeline, work that weaves and crosses boundaries, resists dismissal, and work that deeply attends to form and experience.
Jacklyn Gion, Fiction Editor: Work that does not attempt to appeal to everyone with a universal theme or purpose. Work that is fearlessly placed on a timeline of personal, political, social, economical space. The connection to the random reader should follow inherently. We can all find a piece of ourselves in any work. We also are hungry for original translation work that does not necessarily mean from one language to another, but rather from one form to another.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
CHIXARO: Ninth Letter, Denver Quarterly, 32 Poems, PANK, among others.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
CHIXARO: Through our submittable portal.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: March 5, 2018
SUBMISSION FEE: None
PAYMENT: “While we cannot offer payment for work at this time, we will provide two contributor copies.”
FORMAT: Print and online
FORMS: translation, creative nonfiction, art, poetry, fiction, blog posts