Tidal Echoes showcases voices of Southeast

Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tidal Echoes, Juneau's unique literary publication, is coming to a bookstore near you. Administered and sponsored by the University of Alaska Southeast, the periodical displays the works of writers and artists from across Southeast Alaska.

A launch party for the 2010 issue will be held this weekend at the UAS campus. At the event, Juneau author Nick Jans will read from his forthcoming novel, and local painter Jane Terzis will discuss her artwork. Both are also featured in the current issue. Additionally, a selection of writers included in this year's volume will also give readings.

By culling the submissions of local writers and artists, the editors of Tidal Echoes create a journal with regional flavor. So what composes a Southeast Alaskan artist? Paintings of glaciers calving? Poems about orcas calving?

"I think it's a strong affinity for the place we live," said Senior Editor Chalise Fisk. "There is a distinct Southeast Alaskan 'character' and that is reflected in the creative works birthed here. Though formats, mediums and styles may differ, there's an inherent reflection of Southeast Alaska that finds its way to the surface no matter what, and this is what ties us to one another."

Tidal Echoes has gained momentum exponentially since it was first published, attracting more entries and a larger readership every year. This year it received 344 submissions from writers, 100 more than last year.

"Each year we attempt to make the journal better than it was the previous year, and so ideally we create a journal that people want to be published in and therefore submission numbers increase," Fisk said. "It's really about getting the journal out there and making sure people know they can submit and making the journal one that people want to see their work featured in."

Fisk said she thinks that small indie lit publishers such as Tidal Echoes can provide a singular platform for writers. Bigger dogs such as Glimmer Train receive more that 30,000 submissions each year, and, with a planet full of writers and a narrowing pool of venues, it can be easy for pieces to be lost.

"Small, independent journals serve a lot of purposes," she said. "One key purpose is their ability to allow new writers the opportunity to gain exposure and publishing experience. The selection process of larger journals is oftentimes much more rigid and dismissive. Smaller, independent journals can be a little more discerning and will often spend more time looking at pieces of work."

In addition to literature, more than 50 local artists' creations will be included in the new volume. Fisk said both the quantity and quality of the works received created a challenge for the editorial board of UAS staff and students.

"The journal maintains the same parameters each year and as the number of submissions increases, the selection process gets more difficult as a result," she said. "It's a privilege to see so much creative work come through our doors."

The launch party for Tidal Echoes will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at the Egan Lecture Hall on the UAS campus. Issues of the journal will be available for purchase at the event, and afterward in town at the campus bookstore and Hearthside Books, as well as locations in Ketchikan, Haines, Sitka, and Skagway.

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