The most exciting thing about being an artist, of any kind, is the response you receive from your audience. As a creative writer, I get the most enjoyment out of speaking my poetry in front of an audience, or seeing my work published in hard copy.
The community around you is a great way to get yourself out there, and meet other inspiring artists with similar passions. 'Zines' are a great way to express oneself, and a free form of entertainment.
"Telegraft" is a poetry zine on it's 5th issue. I recently caught up with, Dave Rowan, 1/3 of the heads behind "telegraft", to get a little background on this local poetry zine.
DayCaller: Who is part of 'telegraft'?
Dave Rowan: Marco, Aaron and I are the editors and founders.
DC: When did you guys start your zine?
DR: Our first episode came out in April 2007.
DC: What propelled you to begin this project?
DR: We started up the zine because we were unhappy with some of the editorial processes in place with other magazines: making changes, however slight, without discussing them with the poet, rejecting poems without explanation, or an explanation that lacked advice. Basically, we just wanted to start a zine that was less about having the editors and poets segregated from each other. We set forth our mandate or mission statement stating that we would do our best to meet with every poet who submits work in person and go over [any] advice or questions we had about their poems; however, this is not to say that we think our suggestions are absolute. The whole point is to meet on the same level and try to become better writers. This is why we bring all the submitted poems to every meeting, allowing all submitters the chance to give their advice on all the works being considered, including any that we might submit ourselves.
DC: What are some challenges you guys have faced with each issue?
DR: The biggest challenge is always finding time, where [all] three of us can get together and go over the poems, discuss them and our suggestions for them. Once that's done, we have to find time to meet with [each writer], and then there's still the actual putting together of the episode itself. Still, time restraints set aside, I would say the two most difficult aspects of the editorial process are understanding that you don't have room to put all of the poems you want to in the episode and more awkwardly, that some poems might not meet the standards set forth, and meeting with their authors to explain this, without coming across as someone who thinks they know more about poetry than the poet who submitted said piece.
DC: Yeah, that's a tough line. Art, of any sort, is so subjective. But, there is always room for improvement for any creative person. How has the fifth episode of 'telegraft' differ from the first or second?
DR: The first episode was kind of a shot at some of the reasons for 'telegraft' coming about. All the poems were centered around the things we saw wrong with other publications, and so, they weren't exactly pleasant. They had more of a post-modern feel, dealing with poetry itself. They were published under pseudonyms, because we felt, as we knew many of the people involved in these other publications, that what we were saying would be overshadowed by who was saying it. We later took responsibility and credit for these poems in episode 2 as part of our mission statement. Episode 2 has more in common with episode 5, in that its poems cover a wider variety of topics and styles, as do the other episodes, with the exception of 4, which was focused on valentines day. Still, i feel that the poetry has improved, even in that little time, which is great, haha especially seeing as episode 2 was mostly the editors. Perhaps the biggest and greatest difference is the amount of poets submitting work. It adds a nice range of flavor to each episode.
DC: Next for Marco, Aaron, and Dave?
DR: Personally ... I'm not sure. all of us are working right now. I've finished up school ... for now. Marco and Aaron are heading back to it in september. Other than that ... i guess we'll just keep writing. We're looking to have another episode out sometime this summer and to maybe get involved in an art show here and there.
DC: I'm excited for the next episode! And lastly, Dave, favourite warm beverage? (since we always do our meetings in Second Cup!)
DR: HOT CHOCOLATE!!!! But made with all milk, not water. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Served best when you are freezing to death.
DayCaller: Good choice!
If you cannot get your hands on a hard copy of 'telegraft', you can check out any past episodes in digital form at http://www.telegraft.ca/.
If you are interested in submitting some of your work, you can e-mail the guys at firstname.lastname@example.org.