For Tidal Echoes, University of Alaska Southeast’s student-published literary journal, every year seems to have a theme that becomes apparent the submissions.
Last year’s was defined by the events of the time, said editor Emily Bowman. This year’s was less easy to predict.
“We had a huge theme of loss and also birds,” Bowman said in a phone interview. “Last year, we got a lot of poems about the pandemic and bunch of poems about blueberries. This year was loss and birds.”
Production was eased as mitigation measures allowed staff to work much more closely this year, Bowman said. Bowman also played a key role assembling last year’s journal.
“It was a lot better since COVID restrictions had eased up. I was able to get together with my junior editor and lay out it and see how it all looked,” Bowman said. It’s definitely been so fun sharing what I learned last year with (junior editor) Shaelene (Moler).”
The issue will be released on Friday during a digital event, Bowman said. The link for the Zoom event is available on the Tidal Echoes webpage.
“We’re going to be online, because when we were planning, we weren’t sure if COVID restrictions would be eased,” Bowman said.
Copies will be available at Hearthside, Kindred Post, Alaska Robotics Gallery, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Rainy Retreat Books, Annie Kaill’s and the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Bowman said.
“I think we had a lot of commercial success last year. Some people even sold out of our books and asked for more, which was really cool,” Bowman said. “We even had a German exchange student who lives in Sitka but is on exchange from Germany submit and get in.”
Bowman, a senior, said she’s looking forward to working in some manner of publishing after graduating.
“I hope to, after I graduate work in some form of publishing, whether it’s through a literary journal or with books or whatever that looks like,” Bowman said.
Jill Kaasteen Meserve was this year’s featured artist, while Kersten Christianson was the featured author, Bowman said. Meserve designed art featured on the cover of this year’s edition as well.
“(Meserve) plays around with the idea of tradition and what it means to be a Native artist,” Bowman said. “She likes to incorporate pop culture into her work, which is really fun.”
Christianson, this year’s featured author, isn’t new to Tidal Echoes, she said in an interview.
“I have been published in 12 issues of Tidal Echoes. I go way back with it,” Christianson said. “It’s an honor to be recognized in such a way. I’m just appreciative and excited about it.”
A creative writing teacher at Sitka High School, Christianson said much of poetry is focused on the far northern places of the U.S. and Canada.
“It’s always been a passion of mine to write. It’s been a lot of fun to write in different places in the state,” Christianson said. “A lot of my poetry deals with northern places, northern space. I do a lot of road tripping. Wilderness and loss and mileage and Tim Horton’s coffee. I mostly do free verse poetry. I dabble with form poetry.”
Christianson also has three books currently published, available in small bookstores around the state ”Curating the House of Nostalgia,” “What Caught Raven’s Eye,” and “Something Yet to Be Named.”
For other aspiring poets, Christianson’s advice was to step up to the plate and swing.
“Just say, ‘Yes,”’ Christianson said. “Jump into every writing opportunity there is, even if you have to step out of your comfort zone to do it.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.