The World of Amiri Baraka

by Jupiter Dandridge

One of the greatest poets of all time is Amiri Baraka. Born in New Jersey, Baraka’s real name was LeRoi Jones, and he was in love with a white woman. A lot of the poems in his collected works are about her. Baraka’s work is full of politics, daily life, people; he writes about race issues in his poetry, too.

The first poem in the collected works, which was published in 2014, is “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note.” This poem is about Baraka’s daughter.

The narrator feels empty in the beginning. Suffocated by the world and the day-by-day conformity of doing the same thing, he runs into the same general problems: the area where he lives; the same people; the same bus. Nothing is surprising.

The opening line is, “Lately I’ve become accustomed to the way / The ground opens up and envelopes me.” The narrator has gone numb to the situation at hand — he lives in a violent neighborhood and is not scared by gunshots.

This sets a sunken tone for the rest of the poem — as if he were a man buried telling a story to the people standing over the grave. The poem transitions to the narrator saying that he counts the stars each night and he gets the same number.

He writes, “And when they don’t come to be counted, I count the holes they leave.” Stuck in his bed, the narrator is a man that doesn’t believe in anything. But he believes in something that is just too far to reach. As if he’s giving up hope. This eludes to the title.

Baraka died 2013, leaving behind a legacy of poetry. This latest collected works has 600 pages of poems. This collection is important because he takes one image and zooms in on it and brings it back out, over and over again.

7 Literary Magazines for the Teenage Writer

by Chester Williams III

Current literary magazines present one of the few spaces teen and youth alike can express themselves artistically in the world. These seven literary magazines open their doors to literary submissions from a teen audience and present real opportunities for artistic expression by voices underrepresented in many publications. These magazines represent the few in a growing number of publications that include a teen audience, by either accepting submissions by teenagers, or by being run by a teen editorial staff.

Teen Ink is a magazine, book series, and website entirely devoted to promoting teenage art — whether that be writing, photography, or visual art. Submission ages range from 13 to 19, and can either be published on the website or submitted to the various contest the lit mag offers. They accept all genres of written work and have no deadlines, but they do have genre-specific contests.  

Guidelines for The Claremont Review include that the submitter must be 13 to 19 years of age. They accept poetry, fiction, short stories, and all manners of visual art. Their regular submission begins on April 15 and end on May 15. They currently have an Annual Art & Writing Contest that begins January 15 and closes on March 15.

Parallax is a student-edited literary magazine, published by the students of Idyllwild Arts Academy. The pages of Parallax are open to all high school students worldwide. Guidelines for Parallax mandate that all submitters must be of high school age. They accept poetry, short stories, dramatic writing, and all manners of fiction. With a few limits in place for word count, this magazine is definitely near the top of anyone’s list. Parallax offers an array of contests open to submission. Their period for regular submissions began September 5, 2017 and ends on May 5, 2018.

The Canvas Literary Journal is “by teens, for teens.” It is completely run by a staff of teens, for the express purpose of publishing and bringing the voices of teens to life. Guidelines for the literary magazine mandate that the submitter be between the ages of 13 and 18. Their literary magazine accepts a vast array of genres (poetry, short stories, fiction, visual art, novel excerpts, plays, all manner of non-fiction). Their submission periods are all done quarterly so if you missed your chance to submit this quarter, next quarter is always a couple months away.

Peter LaBerge began Adroit Journal in 2010 as a sophomore in high school.The journal publishes its writers work on a quarterly online basis. Since then, the magazine has had a global presence, recognized by Teen Vogue, NPR, and The Pushcart Prizes. The magazine is currently published on a quarterly online basis. There are no guidelines set in place for this literary magazine. Their website bolsters an all-ages approach to the world of literary magazines. They accept many forms of poetry, prose, and visual art. Their regular submission period is from October 1st, 2017 to April 1st, 2018.

Cicada is a literary and comic magazine, drawing submissions from both a teenage and adult audience. They bolster themselves as an “intersectional” and “LGBTQIA+ friendly publication.” Cicada accepts submissions from submitters of all ages. They accept poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and even accept pitches for comics to be displayed on their website. All of their deadlines are rolling.

Levitate Literary Magazine was started by The Chicago High School For The Arts and their creative writing conservatory. Their editorial staff is comprised of the very best of the conservatory, and represent writing of all different backgrounds.  The guidelines for Levitate Literary Magazine do not include an age limit. Submitters from all ages are encouraged to submit to the magazine. They accept work in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Their submissions open November 1, 2017 and close February 28, 2018.


It’s important that spaces like this exist to hear the teen voice. It’s not something that’s necessarily heard from a point of respect. Publications like these open the doors for teens who want to explore the world through their art. 

Levitate Literary Magazine Open Call

LAST CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:  Levitate Literary Magazine Looking For Artwork As Well As Fiction, Poetry, And Creative Nonfiction.


Submissions are open until February 28, 2018, for Fiction, Poetry and Creative Nonfiction as well as Artwork. Levitate is a literary magazine run by the third year class of the Creative Writing conservatory. We get many submissions but are still searching for the best new vibrant voices for our magazine. Full submission guidelines can be found on our Submittable page:


If you are a visual artist, this means you! Levitate is now open for submissions for both cover and inside work. Please upload a high-resolution photograph of your piece to the visual arts category on our Submittable page.


An Advisory announcement will be made on February 1st.


Math and Art: Are They Connected?

by Ethan Gathman

Do math and art go together? Can math be creative? It’s a question that you’ve might’ve never considered before and now that it’s in your head, you might have a strong and personal answer.

But perhaps this question deserves more reflection. Can math be found anywhere within the creative/artistic process?

Shifra Adler, a math teacher at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), thinks math is inherently a part of creativity.

“I think of math as being creative and this is a philosophical debate about whether math is creative or descriptive, or whether it’s about describing things out in the world or creating whole new things,” Adler said.

She went on: “‘Two’ doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as a ‘two’ in the world. You can have two things but that number two, that’s an abstract creation that people have made for ourselves.”

For Adler, math is first and foremost an abstract art form. She believes that because math is something humans have made for themselves, it should be respected as a legitimate creative activity.

In fact, teenagers are better at math than they have ever been before. According to The Atlantic, “A cadre of American teenagers are reaching world-class heights in math—more of them, more regularly, than ever before.” This may have something to do with this generation’s love for the arts, as Adler purports.

Adler believes that math is more than just an artistic practice; it’s a device that people have used throughout history to work towards major innovation. Because math is concrete, it has allowed people to talk about things in ways they never had before.

Adler adds, “Math is all about questions like, ‘Who are we as people? What is our place in this world? How do we put all of this together in a way that lets me make sense of new things?’”

Various students in ChiArts agree with the statement’s made by Adler. This includes Maria Allen-Cardona, a Creative Writer at ChiArts, who says: “Putting together a story is kind of like putting together a math problem. It’s like a puzzle in a very similar sense. Beginning plus middle plus end equals story. It can definitely get more complicated than that.”

But not everyone agrees with Adler.

Jupiter Dandridge, a sophomore at ChiArts, doesn’t think math and art go together at all. “Math is like this whole concept of steps and strategy. Whatever art you do, it flows from the brain. Math is like a train getting through a tight tunnel. Art is like a plane flying through the sky and air,” he said.

And the philosophical debate continues.

5 Fresh Poets (and Poems) To Check Out

by Jupiter Dandridge

Saul Williams – “Said the Shotgun to the Head” It’s cool how he ties it all up in the end of this piece. This is supposed to be about America, but you don’t know what it is about. He has in-depth language to the point where not everyone will understand it when reading it. It does mean something. In a way, it is like abstract art, but as a poem.


Patricia Smith – “Skinhead” Smith is a black woman who personifies a Nazi in a very believable manner, to the point where if I saw someone else read it, I would believe that it was actually Nazi talking, if the physical characteristics matched. Her performance of it makes the viewer want to do slam; it inspired me to try it.


Tyehimba Jess – “Blind Boone’s Vision.” I like poems that can tell a story and not make it too heavy in terms of how it’s said. In the context of the book it was captivating. I liked the way he gives light to these people who aren’t him; it seems like it’s someone else talking.


Claudia Rankine – “Citizen.” It’s amazing how it’s just one big lyric poem. It’s unusual that a poet would write a poem in second person; it’s difficult to do it well, and Rankine does that here. It’s interesting because there are different perspectives on the same ideas around identity. She talks about racism through situations and scenes.


Keli Stewart – To be fair, this poet is my mom. She encouraged me to follow in my own category and not be like someone who just writes poem. Her poetry is cool too; I can see our family in her work, and I can see myself in her work.