Willawaw Journal is a new online literary journal of poetry and art, published quarterly. The unique thing about Willawaw is that each issue has a poem prompt or mentor poem from a poet laureate! Each issue is also themed based, but may evolve in the future at the editors’ discretion. Check their guidelines for current themes.
For more info on how to submit to literary magazine and journals, read my Submission Tips here.
I wondered how and why this lit mag came to be, so I asked editor Rachel Barton a few questions to find out. See my interview with Barton and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Willawaw Journal. How/why was Willawaw Journal originally started?
BARTON: I was wrapping up my ninth term of teaching poetry in a poetry workshop model and found that it had become a bit cliquish over the years—a core group of the same lovely people sustained it. It was less a class or workshop and more a comfortable little crit group. I was ready to move on. So at the end of the term I asked if anyone would like to join me in creating an online journal. Jade raised her hand.
I knew from our time in class that we would be compatible as co-editors. Jade expresses herself freely and generously in critique. She has been active in the creative arts, specifically theater, all of her life. Poetry is a coming home for her and she was really excited to be a part of this new venture.
For myself, it gave me an opportunity to imagine some teaching/coaching within an online journal. We both jumped on the idea of using the work of Northwest poets laureate to raise the bar regarding quality of submissions. At the same time, we wanted to be inclusive, to reach emerging as well as established poets. So we’ve tinkered with the “lens” or focus for each issue. Jade came up with the U20O70 (under twenty over seventy) theme to capture an underrepresented group of voices.
We are both passionate about art and wanted the visual “relief” of image among pages of text to pull the reader happily along. I was able to draw from my Alaska community for some stellar work and Jade reached into her grandchildren’s elementary schools for work from some youngsters. Great success! I know the submissions from the demographics of younger and elderly will expand as the reach of our call for submissions grows.
It is a bonus for me that we get to do some modeling for our readers by responding to the poet laureate prompt for each issue. We include a poem or poem “start” from each of us after the prompt provided by the poet laureate. Any excuse to write a poem!
I have worked with the editorial collective for Calyx for a number of years and also spent a summer in the offices of Cloudbank. These are both high-caliber international magazines. I know the frustration in finding the right venue for your work so I am happy to add another option for the local and regional writing community. As we expand, will we become too exclusive? I can’t answer that right now. I just know that there are all type of journals and magazines for the great diversity of readers and writers on the planet and I am happy to represent one of them.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
BARTON: Personally, I am looking for a degree of accessibility and also imagery, musicality, concise and artful language, and an authentic voice that might take me on a ramble. I want to follow at least the trace of a narrative or thematic thread. And I want to be surprised. (This is pulled directly from the “more about the editors” page.)
Jade wants to be blown away from what she thought she knew to a new place beyond her daily framework. (Remember, she’s a dramatist!)
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
BARTON: In print, I enjoy Alaska Quarterly Review, Calyx, Cloudbank, Willow Springs, and Kindred Journal among others. Online, I have been drawn to Blood Orange Review, BeZine, Terrain, Newfound, Man in the Street, 2 River, Fourth River—it’s an ongoing exploration.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions? If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
BARTON: You can send submissions to email@example.com or go to our submissions page (http://willawawjournal.com/call-for-submissions/) for more details. You can reach either of the editors (Jade Rosina McCutcheon or Rachel Barton) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEADLINE: March 1, 2019
SUBMISSION FEE: None
NOTES: “Peggy Shumaker, Alaska State Writer Laureate, 2010-2012, provides the poem prompt, Parenthood, Unplanned, which opens her new collection, Cairn, and was first published in Cutthroat: Truth To Power Special Issue. The editor invites artists and poets to speak for those without a voice, however you might interpret that idea, so that we can honor and celebrate a diversity of voices within these pages.”
FORMS: poems, hybrid poems, cover art for some issues