Oakland Arts Review kicks off with launch party

Amy Swanson

The Oakland Arts Review (OAR) held a launch party March 28 to celebrate the publication of its first issue.

It was at 5 p.m. in Gold Room A of the Oakland Center and was open to all OU students.

OAR is a journal that will be published yearly through Oakland University. It publishes fiction, poetry, essays, comics, screenplays and artwork by undergraduate students from all over the world, according to its website.

Some OU students read from the journal, including Bernadette Ewing, a sophomore in nursing who presented her piece titled “Floating.”

She wasn’t very serious about writing until taking an inspiring class with Vanessa Stauffer, special lecturer in the English department. It was there Ewing wrote her first story, which ended up getting published in the Red Cedar Review, and she has continued since.

Ewing believes this journal will help to keep the arts alive.

“It’s particularly important to make it as accessible to as many different people as possible,” she said. “… It’s a lot more relatable and more people can enjoy it.”

Another presenter was William Georges, a junior majoring in creative writing, who read his poem “Gusto.”

He said he got inspiration from the poet Wallace Stevens. It’s about the obsession and power of the imagination.

He also mentioned Stauffer as key to his writing, as she made things exciting.

“The way she teaches makes you feel like a complex individual,” he said. “It wasn’t like school anymore.”

This OAR issue had 35 contributors, all but one of which were undergraduate students. They started accepting submissions last fall and received over 200 total.

Managing Editor Lindsay Olson was happy with the final product.

“I think it turned out really well. I was so impressed with the caliber of work that we received,” she said.

The journal is the brainchild of Allison Powell, assistant professor of poetry and the OAR’s faculty advisor said the OAR website.

OAR’s mission, according to its website, is to “provide a platform for this generation’s emerging writers and, in so doing, create a journal that is of both high artistic quality and great literary significance to readers from all backgrounds.”

Managing Editor Katrina Prohaszka feels being a part of this experience is beneficial for people who are interested in learning about the process of publication.

“It’s a great way for all these writers and artsy people who are wandering around to explore their creative side in a more organized fashion,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve had this opportunity and hopefully we can reach out and inspire others on campus to be involved.”

Olson said this will help to bring the literary community together.

While it was a lot of work, Prohaszka was glad to have been involved.

“It was the best chaotic mess I’ve ever been a part of,” she said.

Right now, the journals aren’t for sale, as staff is trying to gauge community response. People can request an issue on a first-come-first-serve basis by emailing the OAR at [email protected]

If interested in submitting work for the next issue, people can upload it through OAR’s Submittable account.

For more information, check out the OAR website, or follow its Facebook.