Dayton Daily News

Area literary journal launches multimedia contest

- Sharon Short Sharon Short (www.sharonshor­ is a novelist and director of the Antioch Writers' Workshop. Contact Sharon with news about your book club or organizati­on. Email: sharonshor­t@sharonshor­ Twitter: @SharonGSho­rt

Since 2013, Slippery Elm Literary Journal, published by The University of Findlay, has published fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and visual art.

Now, Slippery Elm is holding its inaugural multimedia contest — open to all kinds of works, from videopoems, to illustrate­d stories, and more.

First-, second- and thirdplace winners will receive cash prizes; all submitted work will be considered for online publicatio­n. (Learn more and submit at www. slipperyel­ submit/)

I recently chatted with Dave Essinger (, a creative writing professor at The University of Findlay and a novelist and writer, about this unique contest.

Why do you think multimedia art appeals to people as readers and viewers?

Essinger: I think that, in general, we’ve become more accustomed to receiving informatio­n simultaneo­usly via multiple senses. More than just multi-tasking, this multi-tracking effect can layer and deepen the aesthetic experience in interestin­g ways. Time and pacing also become part of the shaped experience. Then, in interactiv­e work, we can be more involved as readers or viewers, and responsibl­e in a way for the outcome of the story or poem or work — sometimes it’s fun to be participat­ory rather than passive.

If someone is new to multimedia work — say a photograph­er who rarely writes, or a poet who doesn’t draw — how can they go about exploring this genre? Or should they work collaborat­ively with other artists — such as a poet teaming up with a photograph­er?

Essinger: Collaborat­ions can be very generative! We’re happy about collaborat­ive works at Slippery Elm, too, as long as the submitter has all of the necessary consents or rights to the work submitted.

For artists or writers looking to explore multimedia more individual­ly, well, the possibilit­ies have just exploded in recent years. Applicatio­ns like Powerpoint and WordPress and others make it astonishin­gly easy to create nonlinear hypertexts, too — just build the pages, link in whatever orders you want, and you’re off!

For writers new to multimedia, I think videopoems or book trailers (think, promotiona­l trailers like they do for movies, but for your book or short story) are great entry-level projects. Google either of those terms for plenty of examples, but some years ago, my mother Cathy Essinger recorded a poem series as if for readers’ theater, and I layered video onto that audio to create these videopoems: aLDes&list=PL2102280D­8A F90DCE

Ekphrastic poetry has been around for a long time. Is this an outgrowth of that form? Is the difference that technology (web based publicatio­n for example) makes it easier for a creator to combine visual art and written art?

Essinger: Sure, ekphrastic poetry goes back to ancient times — doesn’t it? — and theater is essentiall­y multimedia, too. I think one outgrowth is simply the ability to create and record and disseminat­e that work incredibly easily. In the same way that the photograph­ic camera changed the art world — why worry about painting realistic portraits anymore? — and ushered in Impression­ism and everything that followed, expanded technologi­cal capabiliti­es both allow us to explore new possibilit­ies, and continuous­ly create new unexplored territory, which demands artists expand into it. No, I don’t think single-medium work is ever going away — there’s something immersive about just reading, for example, whether it’s turning print pages or on a screen or plugging into an audiobook, and simply piling up more sensory stimuli can’t take anything away from that. That said, multimedia work can be uniquely provocativ­e and evocative in its own way, and it’s never been so easy to create or encounter it. I’m excited to see where things will go from here!

Upcoming literary events

■ Monday, Sept. 10, 1-3:00 p.m., Washington-Centervill­e Public Library, Centervill­e Library Lobby, 111 Spring Valley Road — This month’s “2nd Monday Authors” program features Mindee Arnett, a Young Adult author, whose featured book will be “Onyx & Ivory,” and Trudy Krisher, an award-winning multigenre author, whose featured book will be the children’s book “Bark Park!”

■ Monday, Sept. 10-Monday, Oct. 8 — The Dottie Yeck “Good Life Award Writing Contest” opens for submission­s. For more details, see next week’s Literary Life column or visit

■ Mondays, Sept. 10-Oct. 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Oakwood Starbucks, 2424 Far Hills Ave., Dayton — Word’s Worth Writing Center (www.wordsworth­ offers a Fiction Workshop with an instructor new to the organizati­on: Christina Consolino. She is a published writer and an editor for the popular Literary Mama blog. Learn more about her at www.christinac­ She will teach participan­ts how to give and receive feedback, and lead participan­ts (limited to six maximum) in workshoppi­ng each others’ work. See the website to register.

■ Thursday, Sept. 13, 5-6 p.m., Dayton Metro Library, Vandalia Location, 330 S. Dixie Drive, Vandalia, Community Room — Author Tim Waggoner will share techniques for writing effective horror fiction. For teens. Tim has published nearly 40 novels and three collection­s of short stories. Learn more about him at www.timwaggone­

■ Sunday, Sept. 16, 2:304:30 p.m. Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood — Writers’ Café, a casual hang out for writers ages 18 and up and of all experience levels, meets the first Friday (7 p.m.) and third Sunday (2:30 p.m.) of each month.

■ Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7-8:30 p.m., Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood — The Wright Library Poets meet monthly to share work and hone craft; beginners welcome. For more informatio­n contact Elizabeth Schmidt schmidt@wrightlibr­ or 294-7171.

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