April 23, 2015

An Interview with Asinine Poetry Editor Shay Tasaday

By emilychiarelli67 in LRR

asinin poetry
Over the past few weeks, my fellow editors and I have been working on a journal project. We selected two literary journals, one of mine being Asinine Poetry, did some research and presented on them. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to have an interview with the editor of Asinine Poetry via e-mail. Here is our conversation:
EC: How did Asinine Poetry get its start?
ST: Asinine Poetry started as a print zine done by some friends in the 1990s. Typical zine publishing–designed, printed, copied, and stapled at somebody’s job after everyone else left for the day. These were short themed issues, very much like mini-chapbooks, and were produced out of order: issue #3 was the first one finished, then issue #5, because the editors wanted to make sure they knew what they were doing before they actually did an issue #1! Asinine Poetry remained a very obscure zine until one of the contributors helped us bring it to the Internet, about 1999 or 2000. And so then we made a website and have been trolling along ever since.

EC: How did you come up with the unique concept for the journal?
ST: I think, to be honest, in the beginning Asinine Poetry was just a juvenile reaction to a bunch of us being constantly (and in most cases, rightfully) rejected by bigwig literary magazines. “Oh yeah, Kenyon Review? Take that, Ploughshares! Take that!” The name Asinine Poetry was both an accusation against those super-serious, pretentious citadels of literature and a declaration of our own intent. “Literature is ridiculous! Let’s be ridiculous!” So we wrote absurd limericks and rhymey, punny throwaways–and early on, it really was just a few of us doing all the writing, sort of like Mad Magazine–and then for some reason people from all over the world began to contribute. Eventually, over the years, AP evolved into an outlet for humorous poetry that is trying to say something underneath, on top of, or just to the left of the jokes. Not just stupid sonnets and silly haiku (although we still enjoy those), but poetry that uses humor and satire as a way to better understand the human condition. Think a whole issue of Billy Collins and Denise Duhamel-type poetry. Which kind of makes us sound pretentious. Dang. What one hates, one must inevitably become!

EC: How do you guys get most of your funding?
ST: Funding?! What funding? Have you seen our offices? Like many lit magazines, we run on coffee and booze. All our editors are volunteer, we (sadly) do not pay contributors, and we have a friend who runs a server, so we don’t have to pay to keep the site up. We do make a small amount of money selling compilations, like Asinine Love Poetry, or chapbooks like Asinine/11. Just recently we jumped on the erotica bandwagon and published two asinine erotic poetry anthologies, Shiny Avocado of Lust and 50 Shades of Avocado, edited by our lovely friend and frequent contributor Kate Showalter.

EC: What are your circulation numbers?
ST: Oh my. I’m not entirely sure. We used to be really into getting circ numbers, and we used to do a lot more promotionto push that along. But we’re all very busy with other projects now, so we put the issues together and send it out there, and whoever reads it, reads it, and we’re very grateful to them. At our height, we were getting about 500 readers a month. Now it’s probably about 100, tops.

You should all check out this small but one of a kind magazine!


April 22, 2015

Survival Reads

By mikestanky in LRR


April 21, 2015

Another Reflection on the 2015 BFA Exhibition

By Nikki Barnhart in LRR

I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 BFA Exhibition Opening Reception on Thursday, April 16th along with Katie. It’s an experience I think everyone should have at least once in their time at UConn, or preferably, every year because it’s amazing to see the cumulation of these artists’ undergraduate educations.

The energy at the event was incredible; every artist’s installation was unique and memorable but here are just a few of my personal favorites:

Cat Boyce‘s “In Touch” photo series was a compelling examination of her hometown friends, and how they have changed – or not changed – since high school. Each photograph was accompanied by a short handwritten statement by the subject, for further understanding of the character. I thought the piece was particularly touching as a senior exhibit because it was a great retrospective on how things have changed since the last major event in a student’s life.

Kelsey Carone‘s “When You Are” was a bit more of an experimental photo series, as it took a photograph of an object from a certain period of young life – such as a stuffed animal, or a carousel horse, and compared how “you” viewed the object at a young age, as compared to age 22. A particularly poignant piece was a photograph of a book with the caption, “a new discovery every day – and still satisfaction escapes you.” It really put into perspective the original amazement of learning to read and how we may take that for granted now.

Melody Lorello’s “Perseverance” was a heart-wrenching series of photo recreations of her childhood abuse, bound together in a narrative book. I actually had the opportunity to meet the artist, and I was so deeply moved by her work, I didn’t know what to say.

I loved Hunter French‘s video installation “Look Fast” which was an avant-garde visual of the proliferation of “memes and first impressions” in our culture – it was a surreal motion picture of everything from McDonald’s meals to Kanye West. It was a great commentary on how “consumerist society” can apply to more than just money- it also crosses over to images, especially on the internet.

Overall, it was a great night, and I highly recommend anyone to view the show while it’s still up!



April 20, 2015

Artist Interview with Erica Laucella in the Print Shop

By kerryleebpelkey in LRR

At 11pm on a Monday, I had the opportunity to talk to Erica L, a 5th year senior in the art department. She specializes in print making, and we happened to be in the print shop. I knew Erica casually, but I had noted that she had a bright sense of humor atop a tender human quality that removed any indications of “pretentious artist.”

It was fitting that she started the interview with asking me how I liked the environment of the print shop which is located in the basement of the Bishop center. A few mutual friends of Erica and I and a group of students from Long River Review were working on their zines, music was playing, people were talking over each other, creating.

Erica, where are you from? What’s your art story?
I’m from Middletown, CT. I didn’t do art in high school but I was always into it, I just never actually did it.

So it’s never too late to do art? Even if it’s almost midnight on a Monday?
No, haha. It is never too late.


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Let’s get into it- what’s your senior project?
I made 10 screen prints that were mounted on 10 panels, it was a composition split into 10 panels. 10, 10 by 10 inch prints.

Any significance to the number 10?
Not really, it was inspired by other artists. And I liked the square shape.

How did you come to do print making?
I came to this department, I wanted to be a photographer. I changed my major 3 times before I decided on art. I took basic print making and fell in love with in it. After that, I took more advanced classes and fell even more in love with it.

Describe your aesthetic.
I have a really graphic aesthetic like bold shapes, colors.

How did you come to your aesthetic?
Oh—uh- sorry, I don’t know how I feel about talking about myself haha. I would say that my work conveys an interest in relationships, contrast, balance and organizing space. My imagery that I’ve been compiling for the past few years — casually makes reference to nature, mundane objects and geometric forms. It also alludes to structures that are both natural and artificial.

Why screen printing for your aesthetic?
Screen printing gives you the freedom to layer a lot of images easily, colors and a wide range of colors to choose from. You work with transparency which helps with the layering process.

Who on campus has influenced you?
Lori Sloane. Lori Sloane is lead print making professor. She literally taught me everything that you need to know about print making- she’s a print making god and she gave me access to everything in this shop and alumni still come back here and use the print shop. I find comfort in the fact that I’ll still have access to the shop.

What other artists are you influenced by?
I’m influenced by Mel Bochner, Sonnenzimmer, -they’re my screen printing idols.

What artists should I check out?
Ellsworth Kelly. I’m super into Instagram and Tumblr, I look at a lot of other people’s work through social media.

How has art helped you cope with life?
So I find that I totally have OCD-tendencies, maybe control-issues and I feel like this is perfect for me to handle those issues. Because it’s my own work, nobody else has to touch it. I’ve made a lot of amazing friends and connections with professors and I’ve had a completely positive experience with the department.

Are you influenced by other mediums? Like music? You picked the music that is playing right now.
My dream job- I guess I could say that- I would love to work with bands. But I don’t make music, I don’t want to make music but I want to work with people who do and make art for them.
What are some galleries that we should check out?
Chelsea Gallery in New York because they’re always changing. Museum of fine arts in Boston, because it is overwhelming but in the best way possible. And MOMA.

Can you comment about the hands on aspect of print making?
In print making, this is going to sound so cliché, but it’s really important to embrace your mistakes- because they are always- well, not always but mostly always better than what you planned for.

What are you doing after graduation?
Move to Boston in September, find a print shop there, hopefully.

You have a great sense of humor, you make people laugh. Is it fair to say that this is your element?
I made a lot of friends here. I transferred here. I didn’t have any friends in my old school. I opened up and I am really honest person now.

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