Here at Portage Magazine we are looking for fiction and nonfiction pieces that capture the essence of the upper Midwest. The upper Midwest feel is very important for our magazine. Therefore, we’d like pieces that are written by authors from this area, know this area, or know what it is like to be a part of the Midwest. With that being said, we also are looking for unique and original ideas presented throughout the piece. Pieces including extensive cliches will likely not be published. We want compelling stories that we will remember long after we’ve read them. Please, don’t hesitate to send us your best work if it falls under these guidelines, as we’d be more than happy to consider it.
What is good poetry? Let us begin to explore this question by answering a similar question: What is poetry? Throughout the ages the definition of what qualifies as poetry has changed a great deal. From Homer’s The Odyssey to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 to Poe’s The Raven, the standards of poetry have been constantly changing and redefining themselves since the first poets dared put pen to paper. But throughout these changes, one thing has always stayed constant: Emotion. The poems that we remember are the ones that make us feel something. Good poets put their soul onto paper, they tear their audience to pieces through their words and give others a chance to feel what they feel. This is what I challenge you to do in your poetry submissions to Portage. Bring us into the depths of your mind through your work, so that we can share with the world what you have to offer.
This year, Portage Magazine wanted to focus on a cornerstone of Midwest living–a close relationship with nature. We focused on works that portrayed nature both in its purest state and as it is complicated by human concepts. Our selection team consisted of tastes that developed both in rural and big city areas. In addition to examining basic elements of composition―such as contrast, framing, texture, etc.―our criteria incorporated our own experiences of nature and how we felt them reflected.
This year’s features section consists of a series of interviews intended to highlight the unique perspectives of a few selected artists. While drafting the questions, our goal was to allow the author’s personality to shine through by presenting questions that were relatively open-ended, encouraging the authors to respond in a conversational tone. The purpose behind this format was to gain a better understanding of who the authors truly are. We believe for a magazine to truly understand its own voice, it’s crucial to understand the diverse nature of the content contributors themselves.
To fit this model, each leading question was drafted with a particular ‘author attribute’ in mind; from there, the author’s bios were consulted, and upon reviewing the author’s work, the remainder of the questions were designed accordingly. Some questions were intentionally recycled―the aim behind that strategy was to highlight the ways in which the different authors “think through” the same questions, providing further opportunity to showcase the myriad of backgrounds present in this year’s publication.