Alisa Ungar-Sargon is a Chicago-based writer. She received her MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University.
Alisa Ungar-Sargon is a Chicago-based writer. She received her MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University.
1. 21 Days Later, Digital Compilation, 11 x 17 inches, 2016
2. Atomic Annie, Digital Compilation, 11 x 17 inches, 2016
3. Companion Diptych, Digital Painting/Compilation, 25 x 13 inches, 2016
4. Fractured, Digital Compilation, 11 x 17 inches, 2016
5. Night at the Opera, Digital Compilation, 11 x 17 inches, 2016
6. Seven, Digital Compilation, 11 x 17 inches, 2016
7. Soul Sisters, Digital Compilation, 17 x 11 inches, 2016
8. Temperance, Digital Compilation, 11 x 17 inches, 2016
9. The Compound Diptych, Digital Painting/Compilation, 25 x 13 inches, 2016
Deborah studied art throughout school and went on to become a professional photographer. Her images have graced the walls of the Epcot Center, The Cowboy Hall of Fame, and The Professional Photographers Hall of Fame as well as countless homes and businesses. She has won many awards and trophies with her artistic style of portraits. She is the past President of the multi-state Ozarks Professional Photographers Assoc, and Indian Nations Professional Photographers Assoc. She helped launch and became the first Editor for the International Christian Photographers Association monthly magazine as well as judge for numerous print competitions. Seven years after opening her studio, due to a bad fall on location which ended in over a year of wheelchairs and therapy, Deborah decided to close the studio and go back to school to finish her degree.
In 2010, Deborah started a local grass movement for artists to create new works of art from trash. From this was born The Garbage to Art Project which she curated at The City Arts Center in Oklahoma City.
Deborah graduated with a degree in Multimedia Communications, specializing in print work. She now works as a freelance graphic designer and teaches Adobe Photoshop for Moore Norman Technology Center, as well as private tutoring
Deborah uses her years of photographic knowledge and experience along with her strong sense of composition to create one of a kind digital graphic works of art that she hopes will be enjoyed by all.
Bethany is a visual artist born and raised in central Oklahoma. Her academic background in Philosophy continually influences the ideas that imbue her work, particularly the analogies between time and the vastness of space. As much as her art may attempt to represent in a tangible form her personality and contents of the mind, she is guided by an intuitive feeling that there are sinister forces at play in the world that see human suffering and misery as a mere game. Her work has been exhibited around the OKC metro, including Artspace at Untitled, recently collaborating with a local poet to create a visual work inspired by poetic verse.
1. Playing Human Games, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 36 inches, 2016
2. The Distant Universe of Yesterday, Mixed Media, 11 x 14 inches, 2017
3. See you Now, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 36 inches, 2016
1. Unfit for Consumption, clay, moss and wood, 20x20x32 inches, 2017
This work is inspired by the following true disaster story:
In March of 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck offshore near Tokyo. A tsunami triggered by the earthquake then crashed ashore Japan’s Pacific coastline. Water soon flooded the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant causing multiple explosions and radioactive leakage. Over 200,000 people were evacuated from the surrounding area. As people left the area some wildlife began to thrive including the wild boar. Immune to the radiation and with few natural predators its population soon skyrocketed and the species began threatening neighboring farmland. Residents now hunt the boar and bury the radioactive meat at three mass graves 35 miles from the plant.
Kaitlyn Schwalje is the daughter of a safety engineer. When catastrophe strikes, her father enters the scene. When a factory worker’s hand is ground into a chicken processing machine or when someone slips down the stairs, he figures out why it happened and who was at fault. As a result, Kaitlyn received an education in disaster. Airplane crashes, assassination attempts, poisonings, and space shuttle malfunctions were all fodder for research. Together they looked at disasters not as isolated events but as products of human systems; believing that the way we fail and the way we react to failure speaks to a culture’s beliefs and behaviors. She is fascinated by the mechanisms that govern how everything works, from physical architectures to people and their behaviors.
Kaitlyn Schwalje holds degrees in physics and design. As a research associate at Walt Disney Imagineering she designed and constructed wearable haptic technologies. She is currently a contributing producer at WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show. Kaitlyn’s work has appeared in Hi-Fructose, Wired, The Creators Project, Fast Company, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
I have an audio version of this interview, but the sound quality is terrible, so here’s a text version for you all to enjoy.
Constance Squires is the author of the novel Along the Watchtower (Riverhead), which won the 2012 Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction, and a novel and short story collection which are both forthcoming in 2017: Live from Medicine Park (University of Oklahoma Press) and Wounding Radius and Other Stories (Ferry Street). Her short stories have appeared in Guernica, The Atlantic Monthly, Shenandoah, Identity Theory, Bayou, the Dublin Quarterly, This Land, and a number of other magazines. Her nonfiction has appeared in Salon, the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Philological Review, Largehearted Boy, and has been featured on the NPR program Snap Judgment. A regular contributor to the RollingStone500 (thers500.com), she also reviews literature and music with work that has appeared or is forthcoming in World Literature Today and The Collapser. She composed the screenplay for Sundance fellow Jeffrey Palmer’s 2015 short film, Grave Misgivings, and co-edited the first and second edition of Speculations: An Anthology for Reading, Writing and Research (Kendall Hunt Publishing). In 2014, she was the guest editor for This Land’s summer fiction issue, and she participated in the Tulsa, Oklahoma episode of Literary Death Match as a judge. Currently, she is working on a third novel, The Real Remains.
Dr. Squires teaches Writing Short Story, Writing the Novel, Fundamentals of Creative Writing, Rock and Roll Literature, Editing and Marketing and English Composition I and II at UCO. She also directs the Everett Southwest Literary Award, a bi-annual prize that awards $5,000 in alternating creative genres. She received the college of Liberal Arts’ for Outstanding Scholarly/Creative Activity in 2010 and the Faculty Merit Credit Award for Creativity in 2013.
In the Fall semester, we have a very solidified series called Sherman Chaddlesone Arts and Letters Lecture Series, and for a while, we’ve known we wanted something in the Spring. Where our Sherman Chaddlesone series features Native Americans, our Alexander Lawrence Posey Series will feature artists who represent otherness that so often may not be spoken for. This is in an effort to combat erasure and the silencing of diminished voices. Our inaugural event on March 30th will feature Danez Smith.
New Plains Review has come a long way over the past thirty years, and we continue to implement and expand ideas to further enhance not only our journal, but the overall artistic community. I am quickly closing in on my 1-year anniversary of bring Editor-in-Chief for the journal, and I cannot help but to reflect on the previous 2 years as an Associate Editor. Our online presence has grown more in the last 9 months than it had the previous decade, and with the launch of our website, it will continue to grow and become a more prominent publishing group. It is on the backs of contributors and our editors which makes this possible.
We look forward to launching our Online Exclusives segment at the end of the month. Some of the contributors will also be in our print edition. Several of our contributors are from around the world. We will have all forms of creative works from short films to music to visual art, which we’ll be able to share in full color. (I am definitely advocating and pressuring my Executive Editor to start printing in color, but the budget isn’t in our favor at the moment–I will save my rant of Oklahoma education budget cuts for now).
Saying we are excited is an understatement, and yes, I realize that saying something is an understatement is a cliché, but that’s all I can think of at the moment as I’m also fighting the urge to rant, as stated previously.
Nevertheless, we are just past our halfway mark for the semester and everyone has been hard at work. I want to take a moment and thank a few of our senior editors, as they make my job easier than it should or could be. First and foremost, Taylor Cradduck and Courtney Cullins, our Managing Editors, have made New Plains their baby and Taylor quite possibly has found the most typos and errors (some to many are my fault). Unfortunately, this is Taylor’s, and possibly Courtney’s, last few months with us. They will be off to bigger and better things, saving the world one typo at a time.
Secondly, but certainly not second, the all-encompassing Media Team: Alyssa Compton (Director of Public Relations) and Kellyn Eaddy (Senior Blog Editor and Social Media Specialist), along with their team, Anna Dore and Andi Ullrich. This group has done so much over the past few months and they do it with a smile, with the additional workload of being full-time students hovering over them. This group of go-getters are constantly at their round table making sure everything is posted and edited, and they deal with my neurotic leadership from time-to-time when things get intense and deadlines seem to be tomorrow.
Seth Copeland, our Publishing Editor, is new to our staff, but his experience running his own journal, Jazz Cigarette, has helped to streamline our transition into being both a print and online journal, as well as being a mediator to contributors throughout the publishing process.
Sydney Vance and Ocean Scheel, our Poetry and Prose editors, have both gone above and beyond to make sure the reading and selection process is disseminated to their teams and deadlines are met.
With the new additions of expanding New Plains Review, we’ve acquired a Development Officer. A.J. Ferguson has worked hand-in-hand with the editorial team. Our contests and fundraisers have been A.J.’s big tests in making sure things run smoothly.
I will wrap up this blog Michelle Waggoner, the heralded Art Director & Production Chief (as I’m over word count and I don’t want Kellyn getting on to me *inserts smiling emoji*). Michelle has been with New Plains for years and years, and her workload seems to increase while we continue to struggle to find her an assistant and more money. (Still saving the budget cut rant for later.) On top of New Plains Review, the New Plains Publishing Group has 2 other journals– 1890: Undergraduate Research Journal and The Central Dissent: A Journal of Gender & Sexuality, both of which she designs. One day she will be off to bigger and better things. Or New Plains Review will continue to grow and become the most well-known literary journal of Oklahoma. We may be a bit biased, but with the continuity of returning go-getters and talent filled editors, we know we can reach that goal.
Thank you to everyone unmentioned, yes, even Shay Rahm, our enthusiastic Executive Editor, and all the associate editors and even more to the contributors and readers across the world. Without you all, our journal would be something short of a nimrod book.
The University of Central Oklahoma has recently hired Dr. Iliana Rocha, whose debut book, Karankawa, won the 2014 Donald Hall Prize in poetry. Along with her Creating the Poem class of her inaugural year, she also taught Ethnic American Literature. It may be safe to say to the reader that Oklahoma has a strong cultural vibrancy strongly linked to Indigenous People, and we certainly must not forget the struggle of our African-American brothers and sisters who suffered one of the most violent race riots in Tulsa, and of course all other peoples facing oppression in these confusing times.
Past events, not only in Oklahoma, but throughout the nation have and will forever be a solidified presence (as it should) in literature. Having said that, the syllabus for Dr. Rocha’s Ethnic American Literature course in Fall 2016 took me on a roller coaster of emotions and offered a new lens and perception into reality of America I had subconsciously put on the backburner, as a white male–while coping with my own struggle transitioning from soldier to student. To read poetry and feel its struggle to be a voice from the lens of war in its purity. Below is the reading list of the course, which if you love literature and rollercoastered emotions, then you should pick these up!
Translating Mo’um by Cathy Park Hong
Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua
Please by Jericho Brown
Look by Solmaz Sharif
She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo
Hum by Jamaal May
Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia (this was our novel we covered)
Dinosaurs in the Hood by Danez Smith
We also read several short stories, flash fiction, and studied some spoken word poetry. I am very fortunate to have taken this course; otherwise, I may not have read the war poetry of Solmaz Sharif, or the multiple narrators found in Jericho Brown’s Please. This thought has now opened not only my understanding to an oppressed group in a clearer way, but it has shaped my own writing and my hopes of being a voice for the voiceless.
With love and hope,
New Plains Review started thirty years ago with a general purpose of helping students at UCO help get published, but soon realized a prestigious journal resists limitations. With the invention of the internet, literature took an abrupt shift and simultaneous submissions took a steep hike. New Plains has understood the importance on keeping with the times while maintaining the prestige in being a worldwide literary journal, and are in our first times of reaching out for submissions beyond poetry, prose, and visual art to include music, spoken word poetry, and short films.
This progress was sparked by a former editor, Joshua “Grizzly” Shepard, who first suggested we use Submittable, which would make our reading and suggestion process easier, allowing time to be put elsewhere in other projects going on. The practicum class, Publishing & Editing, at the University of Central Oklahoma allows for this type of holistic environment to allow student editors the chance to have these brainstorming sessions and suggestions; and our Executive Editor, Shay Rahm, leads the charge.
We hope to only see further progress, which propels New Plains Review into the realm of publishers like The New Yorker, and look forward to experiencing this journey.