As students stay home during an online semester, literary journal Utopia Parkway hopes to keep students connected through creative writing.
Utopia Parkway is another publication at Queens College, but what makes the club unique is that it specializes in publishing the creative writing, art, and photography of students on campus. “I think the journal creates an artistic space for other writers, artists, photographers. It allows us to recognize each other and come together as a community.” says Rebecca Ramdhan, an editor of the publication. “I’ve always liked finding and befriending fellow writers, and since art is overall rather personal and sincere- I feel like I get a glimpse into their perspective of the world.”
“I guess it’s in that personal way that the journal feels like a different form of connection compared to other clubs,” she added. The journal has moved entirely online this semester, compared to the print journals offered at the end of each academic year. “We would collect submissions from fall and spring and publish it all the end of the school year,” Ramdham noted about the club’s usual method of publication.
Despite the journal’s movement to be solely online, Ramdhan is hopeful that the club can use digital media to the journal’s advantage. “I feel like we can accept a lot of different types of submissions now that we don’t have to worry about formatting things into a publishable book!”
Back in April, the publication released an issue that included a Soundcloud for poets and authors to read their work aloud. “We can also accept longer pieces and a lot more art or photography without worrying about color printing,” Ramdam said. “It just feels like we have a more open space for people to express themselves through our journal.”
As a club dedicated to showcasing students’ work, there are no limits to what a student can submit. All genres of creative writing, including poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, and more are accepted for publication online. Similarly, art and photography are also accepted. While there are specific guidelines on Utopia Parkway’s website, there has been discussion within the club about loosening guidelines now that there are no physical limitations to what the journal can publish.
Part of what makes Utopia Parkway special is connecting writers and artists together, and the club plans to continue this virtually this year. Editors meet over Zoom each Wednesday, looking over submissions and brainstorming different ways to connect students. “As for connecting the writers and other QC students- social media will play a big part, but I’m hoping that we can also interact over online workshop events if we can manage them,” said Ramdhan. She also described plans of an open mic night, an event where QC students could share poetry and other creative works over Zoom. Ramdhan hopes that hosting an open mic night could foster a sense of community among Queens College’s creatives, as well as hosting workshop events to help new writers feel confident in submitting to the journal.
Utopia Parkway is currently accepting submissions on a rolling basis. Ramdham encourages all students to submit pieces, saying “We thrive on self-expression and we’re always here to help. We look forward to whatever it is that you want to contribute!”