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New Lit on the Block :: Shadowplay

Shadowplay is the name of the new annual publication of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry edited by students in the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Arkansas – Monticello. “Gripped by the idea of shadows and their dependence on light,” says Editor-in-Chief Christian Chase Garner, “we wanted to create a magazine that would highlight the intersection of these two and the liminal spaces often found there. Shadowplay is also a kinetic act; there is always movement. The word ‘play’ also reflects the brighter side of the dichotomy.”

Garner says Shadowplay was initiated to fill a literary gap. “Our university has not had a singular, long-standing literary magazine over the years, so we wanted to create one that was high-aiming and that carried weight in the writing world. We wanted a magazine that would be a home for diverse voices anywhere on their writing journey, one that would help bring clarity to the light and dark of the human condition.”

Masthead & Submissions

Joining Garner on the masthead are Poetry Editor Sarah Wofford, a graduate in English from Arkansas State University; Poetry Editor Sam Jackson, Professor of English at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas; Prose Editor Meghan Schwend, an English and History graduate from Arizona State University; Prose Editor Lisa Yarnell, a writing instructor at Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa, Florida, and Faculty Advisor Mary Meriam.

The editors currently accept submissions through email, which are then divided between poetry and prose. “Our genre editors have the first choices,” Garner explains, “which are sent afterward to the editor-in-chief and faculty advisor for a final decision. Feedback is not provided, submissions are free, and we aim to respond within six months.”

Breadth & Depth of Content

Shadowplay readers can expect to find both depth and breadth. “We publish writers of all backgrounds and ages from across the globe,” says Garner, “so expect to see a great expanse of lenses to see the world through. Our poetry section also incorporates work that is both in form and in free verse; we always appreciate a striking sonnet or slick ghazal. We keep our prose length on the shorter side—a 1,500-word maximum—so that the stories have their space to dance but never linger for too long. We love to see how people can challenge our vision, so there is a vast variety of theme and tone. Some works are grounded; some are quite surreal.”

The flagship Shadowplay Issue 1 is available in print with some works published online. Contributions include poetry by Lucille Clifton, Schuyler Brooks, Cindy Hill, Bart Edelman, Wendy Sloan, Sonia Arora, Mari Maxwell, Yvonne Zipter, Jim Barnes, Mark Mcdonnell, F. Brett Cox, Deann Jordan, and Margaret Dornaus; and prose by Anu Kumar, Nicholas Claro, Zoë Christopher, Jeffrey Bryant, Deanne Jordan, and Christian Anton Gerard.

The Lifeblood of a Community

Start-ups can be exciting but trying, as Garner advises, “The most useful thing that we found along the way was to always play to our strengths. Founding Editor Jonelle Grace Lipscomb had a keen interest in amateur photography, so we were able to use her work for both our website and our Issue 1 cover. If you have anyone on your masthead with a background in visual art, web design, music, self-publishing, networking, anything at all, be sure and don’t let those opportunities pass. Creating a magazine from scratch is difficult, time-consuming, and is not often instantly rewarded, but it is so important to keep the lifeblood of our creative writing community moving.”

Looking to the future, Garner says Shadowplay “started out small and realistic, but we hope to one day expand into both a digital and print release. Our editors have also mentioned wanting to one day accept black and white visual art, photography, and brief comics as well.”

Submissions recently closed for Shadowplay Issue 2, so readers can enjoy new content soon!

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