5 Tips To Get Published in a Journal

We know you want to be published, and we know it can be daunting. So we, New Plains Review, present to you a brief list of precautionary measures you should take before submitting your work to anywhere. (But primarily to us, right?)

1. Research the journal itself
Every journal has a specific form and style. You want to make sure you’re submitting to the right kind of journal for your work.

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2. Read the Directions
READ THE DIRECTIONS. I can’t say it enough. It seems so simple, yet people fail to do it every year. Every journal has a specific set of guidelines for submitted work. If they require a 3-poem limit and you submit 10 poems, you run the risk of your submission being thrown out just for not following the rules.

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3. Read past issues
Reading past issues will better help you understand what they are looking for. While every piece is unique, you will notice an overall cohesive style in each journal.

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4. Make sure the grammar and formatting is flawless
This is SO important! Before submitting your work, double-check that every single comma is in place before you click submit. It’s easy to overlook small errors as the writer, so make sure to have someone else look over it. Once you feel like it is perfect, read it one more time. If you want your submission to be taken seriously, take your work seriously.

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5. Don’t be discouraged if your work is not selected
Again, every journal has a specific style. Your work may just not be what they’re looking for this year. Just because your submission wasn’t selected by one publication, doesn’t mean it’s not perfect for something else. Try, try again!

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We hope that these tips are a big help for your publishing adventures!

Transformation through The Written Word: An Interview with Arin Andrews

Arin Andrews is a transgender advocate, mountain-climbing extraordinaire, and student at Oklahoma State University. He’s also the author of Some Assembly Required, a memoir that expounds upon his experience as a transgender youth. On his Facebook page, you may find pictures of his climbing adventures, road trips, and loved ones.

His courageous and free spirit was apparent during our interview. Knowing he wrote a memoir, and myself majoring in English, I wanted to ask him about his own experience with literature and its influence in his life.

Source: facebook.com

Andrews’ first experience with literature in relation to his transition opened his mother’s mind.

“I got online and found accredited information, put it in a binder, and gave it to my mom. I was pretty analytical about it,” he said.

Andrews said in that moment, he hoped to convince his mom of the significance and realness of his feelings. Soon after, his mom would encourage him to take advantage of a particular opportunity– composing his memoir, Some Assembly Required.

Andrews admitted his struggle writing and showed appreciation for his ghostwriter. He spoke of the significance of writing and sharing his memoir.

“I now have a lot of respect for people who write … and personally, I think [literature] has a lot of impact. It’s one thing that doesn’t go away.”

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Andrews’ memoir was published in 2014, but I wanted to understand the impact literature and writing has created on his life three years later.

“I prefer nonfiction over fiction … and poetry over prose,” said Andrews, explaining the reasons behind his current reading list, which includes a few mountain-climbing guides and Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey.

At the present, Andrews studies Recreational Management and Adventure Studies, stemmed from his mountaineering passion. He does not only read literature about these topics, but he writes about them, too.

Andrews said he’s inspired to write “after big events or big trips,” which mainly includes his trips to mountaintops.

Andrews said these trips allow him to introspect, “I try to be a better person than I was yesterday, and it’s nice to have a written timeline to go back and appreciate and learn from and see how far I’ve come.”

As evidenced by Andrews’ life, literature and the written word opens our minds and allows us to share, connect, attain important information, and better ourselves. And thank you, Arin, for reminding us that these ideas exist not only as important themes for authors to discuss or audiences to read, but for us, as humans part of a bigger whole, to live by.

Local Open Mic Provides Space For Unique Performances

The Oklahoma City creative community has seen a lot of exciting growth in the past few years, and if you haven’t had a chance to check out local open mics, you’re truly missing out! Comics, singers, magicians, and all other artists are able to show off and improve their skills in welcoming environments around the city through these opportunities.

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Review: Kaveh Akbar’s Portrait of the Alcoholic

Source: siblingrivalrypress.bigcartel.com

(Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017)

The spider weaves the curtains

in the palace of the Caesars…

—Saadi Shirazi (1210-1291)

From the start, Kaveh Akbar makes it abundantly clear who the audience is for Portrait of the Alcoholic. His debut chapbook is dedicated simply “for drunks.” Writers as alcoholics is a trope older than feudalism, and is codified all over this past century, from the exploits (and death) of Dylan Thomas to the better (and worse) tomes of Bukowski. Akbar’s collection is rare bird in that it seeks to navigate both the unapologetic excess of alcoholism, the regretful questioning of when it first took hold, and the desire for release from its dependence.

If art is not a little dire and shocking in 2017, it probably does not deserve life. Akbar’s manuscript is presented by Little Rock’s Sibling Rivalry Press, an imprint whose mission statement derives from an Adrienne Rich quote stating that good art can both disturb and enrapture. Good poetry also does not hand the story to the reader, but rather suggests it to them, leading them this way and that with a dossier of symptoms, conditions, and maladies, so that the general diagnosis may be deduced, but only the author/patient can foster the cure.

The alcoholic of Akbar’s poems has a mother ill with cancer, a father whose Islam he emulates as a child, and a host of lovers he cannot quite have. In “Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating In Space With Severed Umbilicus,” published this last fall in Poetry, the speaker leaps into a pond “with a lonely blonde boy,” and is smitten by the youthful abandon. “I could not be held responsible/for desire he could not be held at all.” Such scenes as these do the romantic drunks posit as the early stages of their illness.

Akbar also cites culture as a grand donor of genetic disease, quoting the great Persian poet Rumi, another wine-splashed wordsmith, but then dismisses the quote as “surely a mistranslation.” In the early months of 2017, it is nigh impossible to divorce the current political climate from the subtext of these poems, however personal and apolitical most of them might be. Akbar, and our titular alcoholic by extension, is the scion of Iran, one of many countries under the near-constant lens of scrutiny in the pre and post 45th administration Unites States. The great American pastimes of bigotry and fear are peripheral to most of the poems, but are best honed in “Desunt Nonnulla,” which likens the crippling of intemperance with the wonder of learning English secondhand… and the otherness it generates in the view of one’s peers. The poems of Danez Smith, another great Poet of Color in this dark age (Ocean Vuong may well make it a trinity) are laden with black bodies made ash and loam. Akbar’s identity as both an Iranian-American and an addict seem built of spider webs, a fragile détente between selves. He writes, “if you teach me something/beautiful I will name it quickly before it floats away.”

In the collection’s final poem, the Alcoholic seems on his way to some recovery, but such is never directly stated, same as all of life is never certain of its safety and comfort. The final poem finds the alcoholic on a desert island, a citizen apart in all cultural identities, building a boat

that “will never be done.” Just as peace has never touched the Middle East, has never fully united the Abrahamic faiths, has never balmed all addicts and fiends into waking tranquility, the alcoholism of Akbar’s poetry is open-ended. The history of struggle, singular or mass, is marked by its great battles, which exists thereafter in time as fixed points of collision, the moments in which no common understanding could properly blossom, where no solution was evident. To begin what already promises to be one of the most poignant careers in modern poetry in such a fatalistic rut means that what comes next must be better, must elevate itself. To see where they will go, the survivors of conflict—and there are so many conflicts in today’s world—must first look at the drunken nights behind them. The clarity is always just ahead.

When Books Started Becoming Mirrors (an Asian-American Perspective):

“Only by glaring into the depths of ones own reflection can we find our true selves. It is here where the mirrored voices of our souls speak and can be heard.”

-Paul Morabito

My name is Amanda Liu, a rookie editor for the New Plains Review, and this is a list of Asian-American narratives that changed my life. I have a lot of feelings for these stories, but I want to stress that this is by no means the list of Asian-American literature. I am not an expert in Asian-American experiences, just because I am Asian-American. I am not creating a catalog of a singular experience because there is no such thing as a singular experience—especially since every one of these stories are about people from different countries in Asia. I do, however, have the confidence in saying that I have been changed deeply by these stories and the ability to finally see myself in the characters I read about.

Me, for twenty years, until I found these books. Source: giphy.com

 

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Source: amazon.com

This is almost the quintessential Asian American coming of age story, and it took me until my junior year of college to read it. This was published in 2007, and I really could have used this when I was in 7th grade, hating everything that reminded me I was different. The form meets the function perfectly in this book, and this story intertwines three different narratives all dealing with the issue of finding your place when you are labeled as a minority.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Source: goodreads.com

The Sun is Also a Star is about Natasha, a Jamaican immigrant on the verge of being deported, and Daniel, a first generation Korean-American struggling to find the motivation to apply for college. This book is interesting because of how much Nicola Yoon, a Jamaican author living in New York City, was able to tell the story of Daniel as beautifully and genuinely as Natasha’s. The part of the story that really blew me away was the narrative style that Yoon chose to tell this story in. The perspectives switch between the main characters, the narrator, and the seemingly unimportant side characters to create one of the most fulfilling reading experiences I’ve ever had.

“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu

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I didn’t necessarily save the best for last. Rather, I saved the most heart-breaking and earth shattering for last. I’m afraid that readers will be put off of the other stories because this one makes people ugly cry. However, this is actually where it all started for me. This short story struck me so deeply that I finally reconciled my previous distaste for my culture, and it led me to seek other narratives that I have so desperately needed. I really don’t want to spoil or over-hype anything about this story, but for me, Ken Liu was able to put a story behind everything I’ve ever felt about the “magic” of my parent’s stories, my life in the United States, and the fear I have of not being able to balance them both.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever read/are planning to read any of these titles, or if there’s a title that you think I should read. If these books cannot be mirrors for you, perhaps they can be windows and doorways. In the end, I want to invite as many people as possible into the stories that helped me grow and love myself the most.

 

Thanks for reading!

Amanda

UCO Reveals New Gender and Sexuality Journal

New Plains is really excited to reveal its third peer-reviewed interdisciplinary academic journal, The Central Dissent: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality, and is set to debut in September 2017!

Based out of the University’s of Central Oklahoma Liberal Arts College, and sponsored by the Women’s Research Center and the LGBTQ+ Student Center, this is Oklahoma’s first academic journal the will specifically publish work within the Gender and Sexuality studies field.

“Our mission is to gather and disseminate quality research, poetry, and academic reviews that explore gender theory, gender identity, as well as how race, class, and ethnicity shape society’s expectations of the individual both currently and historically,” according to Central Dissent’s Editor-in-Chief, Luke Provenzano.

The journal will give graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to be published, which is a great chance for students to improve their resume or CV.

The Central Dissent is accepting scholarly reviews, research papers, poetry, prose, and art.

As a UCO student, I am extremely proud of the University for its progressive strides in the field of Gender and Sexuality. The new Women’s Research Center and the LGBTQ+ Center are both impressive additions, and many students are excited to see the Gender and Sexuality minor added to the curriculum. And now we have a Gender and Sexuality academic journal.

For more information, like The Central Dissent on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/TheCentralDissent

To submit work for the inaugural issue, email thecenteratuco@gmail.com!

Book Review – Krampus: The Yule Lord

From Gerald Brom, a man known for painting horrifying monsters, comes a novel that is quickly becoming a Christmas tradition in my household, and a perfectly bittersweet antidote for the usual saccharine Christmas stories. Let me put it this way, if Charlie Brown and the Grinch are the cookies and pie you have after Christmas dinner, then Krampus: The Yule Lord is Christmas dinner itself. Literal (literary?) soul food.

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Finding a Career as an English Major

If you’re like me (and most other college students), you’ve struggled with deciding on a major. I came into college nervous about my declared Pre-Optometry/Biology major because I knew it wasn’t quite what I wanted to study. Now, I am a much happier English major. The problem I faced was not knowing where my interests and skill-set best combined. When I changed my major to English, it still didn’t feel right. My analysis skills allowed me to excel in English, but I didn’t want to be a writer, and I didn’t want to be a teacher. I didn’t know any other possible jobs prospects. After discussing my dilemma with English colleagues, though, I finally found my niche in the sub-genre of editing.

Source: The Odyssey Online

Of course, everyone’s process is different, but if you’re an English major, or considering to be one, then allow me to help you figure out your niche in this sometimes fuzzy study.  While I am not at all an expert, my hopes are that this post can be a guide of sorts to help you recognize and utilize your English skills and interests.

I’ve listed four areas an English major can pursue. Find the one (or more) that matches up with the skills/interests you like best! Maybe all four sound interesting to you.

1.Writers (Creative Writer, Poet, Blogger, etc.):
Writing, researching, creativity.

Maybe there’s a book you’ve always wanted to read, but hasn’t been written. Maybe you’re really great at writing greeting cards.

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2.Teachers (High school, TESL, etc.):
Interacting with others, sharing knowledge, reading, proofreading.

You can be the person that molds a young mind into another English major, or you can help young children in a foreign country conquer linking verbs.

3. Professors:
Research, reading, writing, sharing knowledge, interacting with others, presenting/public speaking.

Because who doesn’t want to be able to discuss Dr. Seuss as high literature? There’s a class for almost anything these days.

Source: University Primetime

4. Editors (Blog editors, book editors, copy editors, etc):
Analyzing, reading, organizing, proofreading, researching.

If you’re the friend that always corrects everyone else, maybe this path is for you.

None of these professions are straightforward. If you decide you want to teach, you could become a high school English teacher or teach English as a second language in a foreign country – two very different experiences. So if you find that your interests and skills fit in with one of these, I’ll leave it up to you to do your research. Otherwise, I hope you are one more step closer to a career full of opportunity, hard work, and big dreams!

Below are a few helpful websites:
Dear English Major blog
Standford University
Top Universities.com

3 Tips to Start Managing Your TBR List

We all know, as book lovers, that a To Be Read (TBR) list is something that never seems to go away. The list only seems to grow because we buy more books, but have less time to read them. However, my resolution for 2017 is to start managing my TBR list more effectively. I’ve come up with some tips to help you, and me, to accomplish this!

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  1. Get Organized!

First thing to do to get started on all those unread books is to get them organized. I have a bad habit of just putting books wherever they will fit because I own so many, which is clearly not productive to accomplishing any reading. Instead of having to search for those books all over your shelves, make an actual TBR list or put all your TBR books in one place. (You can even organize by genre or year of publication.) Alyssa, our Director of Public Relations, suggests putting all your TBR titles in a jar and then drawing one at random to add a little spontaneity. But no matter how you organize your TBR books, having all of your titles in one place that is easy to access is the first step to tackling your list.

  1. Make Time to Read!

As a college student, I understand that making time to read isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Scheduling time to read is a surefire way to start making an impact on that TBR list. One way I make time to read is by rewarding myself. This is how I justify taking thirty minutes away from college or work. If I’ve worked hard all day, I feel like taking a little time for myself to read and unwind is well deserved. Not only am I stepping away from the stress of reality, but I am working on a personal goal.

Printable poster can be found at etsy shop EtOfficina.
  1. Join a Book Club

For me, joining a book club has made it much easier to tackle my list. Not only do I have an organized list of books that we are planning to read, but I have people to discuss these books with. Having people reading the same books as me not only makes my reading more productive, but also challenges me to keep up with the reading and not slack on our reading schedule. So join an already existing book club or create one with your friends! Reading one book every two to three weeks, depending on length, has made managing my TBR a possibility.

There’s three tips to get you started on your TBR list. If you have any tips of your own that we haven’t mentioned, please feel free to share in the comments below! Happy reading!

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5 Booktubers to Get You Started

It’s no secret that I can waste plenty of time on YouTube. It’s a black hole. I start off with a “just for a few minutes” mindset, checking what some of my favorite Youtubers may have uploaded, and then five hours later, I’m learning how to do Yoda costume makeup for absolutely no reason.

YouTube is a community of communities where there is something for everyone: makeup lovers, gamers, musicians, belly dancers in training, you name it. Book lovers are not excluded, as they shouldn’t be.

BookTube is a glorious place where readers can unite for our common love: books! You just have to know where to look. If you aren’t familiar with it, here are a few booktubers that you can start off with. If you are, maybe we’ve mentioned one of your favorites.

1. Ariel Bissett

Quirky, charming, entertaining, Ariel is a personal favorite. Her channel is one full of book reviews, poetry, writing tips, and creativity. She’s delightful to watch and just plain adorable, and between you and me, she is living the dream life. Who doesn’t want to live in London?

Here’s one of my personal favorite videos:

2. WellDoneBooks (Max)

If you’re looking for more literary, analytical reviews of your favorite books, or of a book you’re hoping to make a favorite, Max is the booktuber for you. His channel is loaded with book reviews from memoirs like Heart of  Glass by Wendy Lawless to fun novels like The Girls by Emily Kline. He gives insightful opinions so that you never have to wonder, “Is this the book for me?”

Check out his most recent video:

3. polandbananasBOOKS (Christine Riccio)

Christine is certainly one of the more energetic booktubers out there and is perhaps my favorite on this list. Her videos are fun and highly engaging. And with her upbeat, all over the place attitude, it’s hard to get bored when watching her videos. She does “booktalks,” often with popular authors, book hauls, and reviews of TV shows and movies.

Get to know her here:

4. PadfootndProngs07 (Raeleen Lemay) 

Raleen is a wonderful choice in BookTube entertainment, especially if you are like this blogger and have a passion for YA fiction. She has read and mentioned perhaps every possible book that YA readers could love and put on their TBR lists. As a bonus, she does a monthly unboxing of Owlcrates, YA book and swag subscription boxes.

Here’s a book tag!

And last, but not least:

5. jessethereader (Jesse)

Jesse is a joy to watch and keeps things interesting. He’s energetic and genuine and truly loves his books. He keeps his book reviews entertaining and produces lots of fun content, including plenty of challenge videos. And I am very jealous of his library.

Another fun book tag to check out:

Of course, there are plenty of other wonderful booktubers that didn’t make it to this list, but we all have to start somewhere. There is a whole book-loving world to be discovered and it’s waiting for you. But if you are already a BookTube aficionado and we haven’t mentioned one of your faves, feel free to share in the comments below! Have a great day, everyone, and go explore BookTube!