Aesthetic & form

Friends, the Sequoya Review is coming together again, earlier this year than any other. Usually, we are so busy in the spring, scrambling to get everything together–the pieces, the look and feel of the magazine, the website–that we have hardly any time to think about aesthetic as a concept. We have been forced, in the past, to sort of blindly grope around the subject of “good” work, using our intuition alone to guide us.

However, by moving the process to the fall we open up for ourselves a large swath of time. We are able to consider this concept of artfulness, and incorporate that into our selection process in a way never before possible. So, with this in mind, what is art? What are we to publish, as the Sequoya Review? I hope to answer this question, rudimentally and tentatively, now; moreover, I hope to spark some discussion in this matter, so that we can come to a better conclusion of who we are and what we publish. I hope that crowd-sourcing this endeavor may prove more fruitful than just laying down rules myself. My thoughts on the matter follow.

  1. The Sequoya Review is, first and foremost, a student publication. We provide a voice to the student population at UTC, fostering creativity here and giving it an outlet, holding up student work and showing it to the world at large, both academic and layman. This means we publish only work by those who are current students at UTC, however it does not mean that we should demand any less in the quality of the work; on the contrary, the students at this university have truly good work which deserves better than intellectual coddling.
  2. The Sequoya Review publishes good work. This is the crux of the matter: what is “good” work? Surely some definition is needed in order to proceed. Of course, with the different genres we publish it may seem difficult to give an across-the-board definition of aesthetic; but I believe that there are some qualities necessary to any work that we publish, and those are completeness and emotional truth. Of course, the work in question must be complete, which generally means some sort of tension and resolution. These are easier to delineate in what I will call the “timely” works, such as poetry, prose, and music, in which the piece unfolds before us through time as we read or listen to it; in visual art this is harder to do. However, if we look at a complete piece of art, it should have some element of tension within it (perhaps the creative process of the artist?) as well as a resolution (which, in the parenthetical case, would be the piece itself). In regards to what I’ve called emotional truth, I mean that quality of a complete piece that resonates with the viewer–that part of the author’s self that comes through in the recitation, reading or viewing of the piece itself. It is the connection that the producer makes through his art, the reaching-out into the world that causes others to recognize it as art. I feel that these two qualities cause a creative work, whether it be verbal, visual or aural in nature, to be what we call “good work.”

That’s a preliminary sketch of where we might be going as a magazine, but of course I can’t pilot this thing myself. We are a collective of students, and as we publish students we are also interested in what those we may publish have to say. So what do you think? What is “art”? What is “good”? Tell us in the comments.

“Spittle” by Case Duckworth

My body is attached to your body by a thin spittle of thought.
When you turn away from me, my thought is broken
and forms anew with something else. Ideas are drool.
Beauty has been slobbered over far too long. God
is a tidal wave of bodily fluid. Even the flea has some
vestigial wetness. We live in a world fleshy and dark,
and moist as a nostril. Is conciousness only a watery-eyed
romantic, crying softly into his shirt-sleeve? Is not reason
a square-jawed businessman with a briefcase full of memory?
I want to kiss the world to make it mine. I want to become
a Judas to reality, betray it with the wetness of emotion.
The coin that holds the two sides of experience will become
a mobius strip trailing snail slime to infinity.

How it Happened – Case Duckworth

I was away on vacation when I heard–
someone sat at my desk while I was away.
They took my pen, while I was taking
surf lessons, and wrote the sun into the sky.
They pre-approved the earth and the waters,
and all of the living things, without even
having the decency to text me. It was not I
who was behind the phrase “creeping things.”
When I got back, of course I was pissed,
but it was already written into the policy.
I’m just saying: don’t blame me for Cain
killing Abel. That was a murder. I’m not a cop.
The Tower of Babel fell on its own. The ark
never saw a single drop of rain. I’m the drunk
sitting on the curb who just pissed his pants,
nothing more. I quit my job a while ago.

– Case Duckworth is a junior at UTC, studying creative writing. He plans to become a prophet.

What’s New in Sequoya Review

In case you haven’t noticed (we admit, it isn’t totally obvious), the Sequoya Review website is undergoing a change in management! Don’t worry–all the great flavor is still there, in a new box. By flavor, of course, we mean content, and by box we mean online editor…that might have been an awkward turn of phrase. Forget it was said.

…Anyway, some changes that you might see in the coming weeks include, but are not limited to, the following: Continue reading

Interview with Red Heart the Ticker

MEACHAM, FALL 2009: There were many great writers here at UTC for the biannual Meacham Writers’ Workshop, but there was also something new this time: a songwriting workshop with Red Heart the Ticker, a band from Vermont composed of Tyler Gibbons and Robin MacArthur. We got a chance to interview Ty after the band’s set on Saturday.

SR: How do you write songs?
TY: I’ve always written songs–it’s how I express myself. I feel the most whole when I’m writing a song.
SR: What is touring like?
TY: It’s an amazing way to enter in to a place and have a reason to be there. It makes it easy to meet people–it’s a great excuse to travel. However, it’s very hard to make a living. It’s a privilege to get to see new cities, and if we break even doing it, that’s a start . . .
Continue reading