LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Emily Stamper Oakland University
Dear Reader, As a writer, the experience of working as an editor of the Oakland Arts Review has been both enlightening and invaluable. It has forced me to reimagine my preconceived notion that editors of literary magazines are the snobby, uptight gatekeepers of the publishing world. The editors I’ve had the pleasure of working with on this magazine have been passionate storytellers themselves, eager to bring amazing writers, clever poets, and wonderful artists into the spotlight. It has also made the process of submitting simultaneously less mysterious and more daunting. Less mysterious because I now have a better grasp on what makes editors really consider a piece. While reading through the seemingly endless flow of submissions, the ones that stuck out to me were doing something different, something unique. It made me realize that I shouldn’t be afraid to submit something that is “nontraditional” or “weird.” In fact, that should be what makes me submit it. But it is also more daunting because we got so many lovely pieces and it brought to my attention just how many talented undergraduate writers are out there vying for a chance at publication. While deciding on what pieces to publish, we didn’t have a specific agenda or goal. We just wanted to take pieces that we felt had quality writing and an interesting story to tell. However, as we were reviewing what works we had accepted, we noticed that many of them centered around some of the issues that our society is currently facing. Sexism, mass shootings, and racism are all terrible things that we live with and, as has been true throughout history, many people turn to art to cope. Though some may try to discredit or ignore these problems, art and literature can help to bring more attention to them. Which brings me to an important point about the publishing industry. Through the course of my work on this journal I have learned just how influential the publishing industry is. It has the ability to shape the literary world, to control what the public sees and what they don’t, to choose what works of literature are immortalized and which will be forgotten as the years pass. And I am extremely honored to be just a small part of that process.