An Open ‘New Forum’

Steven Shi | New University

UCI’s creative writing publication hosts its publishing party, featuring readings from their fall quarter selection.

The New Forum, UC Irvine’s  undergraduate creative writing journal, held their “Issue Release Party” last Tuesday for their fall quarter compilation of short stories and poetry. The publication allows students to submit poems, short stories and creative non-fiction to be published every quarter.

Fourth-year English major Pheobe Bui, who has an emphasis in creative writing for poetry and is also the co-editor in chief for New Forum, mentioned how the New Forum is a good way to get students’ work published, since there are not many opportunities in the Humanities Department for writers to submit their work for publication.

“New Forum is not a club,” Bui said. “It’s strictly a publication. It’s more professional and a wonderful opportunity for writers to interact with each other. It allows poets and fiction writers an outlet.”

This quarter’s publication features seven submissions. Only three of the writers who were published in this quarter’s issue made it to the release party.

“This party was meant to make the writers we selected for this issue feel special,” Bui said. “Our goal was to create a warm atmosphere where their work can be appreciated by fellow writers.”

Lily Grimes wrote the first poem entitled “Brighton Pier.” The piece is about how nature is endless and its beauty is never lost.

The next writer, Nolan Turner, read a short story he wrote titled “Driftwood.” It was about the journey of an American doctor named Wade and his friend as they traveled through Cuba.

Turner got the idea for this short story from a passage in a book by Alejo Carpentier. The title came from the idea of things that had been once useful and were later abandoned.

The next piece presented, “We Turn to Silhouettes,” was written by Erin Auvinen. The piece embraces the shadows cast by dark, thrilling imagery as they consume people.

Jade Berniard, a third-year public health major read her poem entitled “Dear Genevieve,” in which a mother overlooks the loss of her significant other in order to love her child.

“At the time I was writing it, I was having a hard time due to various reasons. I was thinking about if I had a child and I didn’t love it because it looked like the father. That would break my heart,” said Berniard.

Berniard submitted her work to New Forum through her friend, who encouraged her to let others see her work.

“I was really happy to know my work was chosen because now I have something published,” Berniard said. “Poetry has always been a way for me to escape. People interested in submitting for New Forum should just go for it if it’s something they love because you have to do what you love.”

The next poem, written by Marlena Mack, was entitled “Taking the Train.” The poem followed the awkward situation of choosing a seat on a crowded train. The story captured a moment where the speaker imagines what the person next to her was thinking as she took her seat and as she got to her destination.

“Genesis” by Frank Noh, showed a satirical outlook on the relationship between men and women from the beginning of their existence.

The last poem of the night was “The Pantomimer’s Pocket” by Claire Edmonds. This was about a man who did something once and realized he could never do it again. Edmonds claimed her reason for choosing the word pantomimer over magician had to do with her work and studies in theatre.

“I’m constantly surrounded by strange characters and magicians,” Edmonds said. “Mime is a specific discipline. The imageries in the poem are all the different things that mimes do. Also the distinct ability to use your imagination, but inability to engage with reality.”

For the rest of the event, New Forum held an open mic, which allowed anyone from the audience to present any material they had written.

Several people went up to present their poems and short stories; as well as several New Forum board members who presented revisions of their previous work.

“We accept submissions every quarter and are always looking to publish talented writers. And if people want to join staff next year they should let us know,” Bui said.