OyeDrum is “an online magazine and intersectional feminist collective. We are a community dedicated to women’s creative and intellectual work.” You can read more about the name OyeDrum here. They feature a quarterly themed issue from a selection of curated work, and a weekly section open to all genres. They are accepting submissions for their forthcoming issue with the theme of “SEX” and are seeking “visual art, performance art, short films, spoken-audio pieces, creative fiction and nonfiction, poetry, hybrid work, photo essays, graphic novels, and more by women and witches of ALL ages and ALL walks of life.”
I love the aesthetic of their site, so I interviewed Head Witch/Founder Amarantha da Cruz to find out more. See my interview with da Cruz and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about OyeDrum.
DA CRUZ: OyeDrum Magazine has grown and evolved a bit since we started. We publish diverse inter-generational creative female voices from all walks of life. We want people who are emerging or established, and even those who do not necessarily come from the arts but have something to say or something cool to share. For example, we’ve now had two neuroscientists publish artwork that stemmed from their scientific research.
HOPKINSON: How/why was OyeDrum originally started?
DA CRUZ: While pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at City College of New York, I took a class called Experimental Hybrid Poetics: Questions of Meaning, where we experimented with both form and “meaning,” through observing and creating works that juxtapose a literary language with a multi-media form, expanding my mind to different possibilities. The classroom happened to be women only, and, luckily, it was a group of very talented and friendly women. We shared some of our most honest work with each other, giving each other encouragement and constructive criticism within a safe and supportive environment, always leaving the classroom inspired by the female artists we learned about, and by each other. During the semester, we were encouraged to submit our work for publications, but it was a bit of a struggle to find publications that accepted the type of work we were doing. I also noted that there was a divide between art, media and literary publications.
As the semester was coming to an end, I was trying to figure out how to translate that experience to outside of the classroom, and so began the idea of starting an artist collective with those ladies. Eventually I realized that I didn’t want to limit the experience or exchange to just us. I wanted to discover who else and what else was out there. I am a nerdy woman with a wide-range of interests, and many of my friendships are based on mutual nerdy-ness, including with my beloved fellow intellectuals on the team. So I wanted to meet and find other women out there who, like me, maybe don’t fit into one box, or who also have a desire to read, hear and see interesting things being produced by fellow women that speaks to them. A magazine seemed like the perfect solution to finding those women, and sharing their world with others.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
DA CRUZ: This has been a hard question for me because I’m not selling a product, and from the start, I wanted something that was universal.
People who are curious about the world around them and want to consume things that make them think or feel. People who can see beyond the fact that it’s all female contributors, yet appreciate the fact that it’s all female voices. Our target audience are people who are seeking something interesting in a world of noise, things outside of our comfort zone, things outside of ourselves.
I hope that the audience is a reflection of the diverse authors we publish. I’m also using this platform to promote more work by women of color. I hope they are reading this and feel encouraged to submit their stuff!
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
DA CRUZ: The next theme is sex, so all submissions for Volume 3 should be related to that theme, in whatever way the contributor interprets it! The idea started out because of a conversation I had with my friend and fellow editorial contributor Shamecca Harris. We were discussing Cardi B’s WAP song and video, and we had significantly different reactions to it. But we ended the conversation on the same page- how the very topic of women and sex is so much more complicated and deeper than what’s usually presented. When the idea was brought up to the team, there was an immediate enthusiasm, and some clever observations, like the fact women’s ability to talk about sex and our own sexual desires are still largely influenced by our patriarchal-based society.
If you don’t have something that goes with the current quarterly theme, send it anyway! We accept any and all themes for our weekly section, which is always open for submissions.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
DA CRUZ: We get a lot of poetry and a good amount of fiction, which is greatly appreciated. Please keep sending it! But it would be cool to get some more non-fiction, creative-nonfiction, and I’ve said before that I deeply appreciate humour and satire. I, and the entire team, continue to ask for more experimental and hybrid submissions. If you’ve got something and you can’t figure out the genre or how to explain it, send it! Think outside the box. For example, mixing a multimedia piece with literature.
We always hope to get more experimental work – weird or unusual in subject, approach or process. I have a fondness for things that swing on the extreme end of the pendulum, either funny or moody or brooding. I’m seeking work that has a distinctive style or voice- unapologetic work.
What’s interesting about OyeDrum Magazine is that, because our submission review process is a group discussion by a team made up of very different women, each with a particular sensibility and focus, sometimes I end up appreciating work that I wouldn’t necessarily be into because of our discussions. We try to dissect submissions and really analyze it.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
DA CRUZ: The New Yorker, Granta, Winter Tangerine, The Paris Review, Words Without Borders, Creative Nonfiction, Brick, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Lavender Review, (Re) An Ideas Journal, just to name a few.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with OyeDrum?
DA CRUZ: I love everything about it! It’s so many favorite things.
But if I really had to answer: the people involved. My favorite part of being on staff is connecting with the contributors and readers on an intellectual and, sometimes, even personal level. I love people’s enthusiasm and excitement, it’s really contagious. And, of course, I feel like I’ve created a job for myself where I have an excuse to hang out with some of my favorite people (the team), and our quality time is being spent discovering cool women and creative work, as well as being creative together. We’re actually starting to create content of our own, now! There’s a podcast that will be coming out this month that was produced by our contributing poetry editor Hilary Davies. She’s done a series of interviews with OyeDrum contributors, pairing up two individuals at a time that might have similar themes in their work or some sort of common denominator.
HOPKINSON: Where can we send submissions?
DA CRUZ: email@example.com
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DA CRUZ: They can submit their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and either I or the Managing Editor, Alex, will get back to them. If someone would like to collaborate with us or if it’s something that isn’t related to submissions, they are welcome to contact me directly at email@example.com. We’re hoping to find allies!
- SEX themed call: October 9, 2020
- Weekly on a rolling basis
THEME: Theme for the quarterly forthcoming issue is SEX
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS:visual art, performance art, short films, spoken-audio pieces, creative fiction and nonfiction, poetry, hybrid work, photo essays, graphic novels, and more by women and witches of ALL ages and ALL walks of life