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The Suisun Valley Review was established as a way for the students of Solano Community College to learn the art and craft of editing a literary journal while putting together their own magazine once a year. Since the first issue was published in 1981, student editors have collaborated on over thirty issues of SVR, carefully selecting the contents from new and established writers from across the U.S. and abroad. The students are also directly involved with creating the overall design aesthetic and narrative of each issue. Each spring, all of their hard work and endless creative energy is repaid with a bound collection of prose and poetry, sold and kept as a testament to sleepless nights.
SVR's 2014 Submission Guidelines

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How the Best was Done!

What a frenzy these last weeks of SVR 2009 have been!

That's right, since my last update in April everything has come to a breathless close for us. We hurriedly made our final decisions, created an order with a distinct narrative, carefully laid out each page of our book, dealt with the problems that arose (and each little problem felt like a giant one!) and finally, finally printed and bound our magazine! I am proud to present to you the best Suisun Valley Review issue yet!

SVR Issue 26

Photo: Caught! by Jami Beck

I'm so proud of everyone this semester, we really were down to the wire. The sheer amount of reading required is intense, and yes, every single editor in our class read through every single manuscript. From all of us to everyone who submitted, THANK YOU for giving us such interesting, beautiful, strong and quirky late-night reading. Part of the reason we had trouble near the end was because there was just so much work that we needed to choose between for the final cut. They were easily the most difficult decisions of the semester, and I am truly sorry that we didn't have the space to include everything we loved so well. It takes a lot of guts to send in your art or piece of writing, and you all should feel empowered to keep on putting yourselves out there!

A special congratulations to Barbara Schmidt, winner of the first annual Quinton Duval Award for creative writing! Expect her poem to be one of the samples from this issue coming soon to our Myspace page. And a huge thank you to Indigo Moor, Solano College's featured reader for the semester and the featured author in the Suisun Valley Review. We had the privilege to read and choose seven previously unpublished poems from his recently compiled manuscript Ethos and the Dreamwheel. It was also an honor to have him visit us during one of our meetings to talk to us about writing and publishing. If you ever get the opportunity to meet Mr. Moor, I really urge you to do so! He is a powerful writer and a very kind man.

My third year on the magazine, and I am still completely exhausted after the book prints. When working on a literary magazine, in addition to the choices one needs to make regarding the content, one has to decide on an endless amount of little things - things that, as a reader, you might take for granted! The page layout is amazingly important. How will a reader be presented with each piece? Shall we emphasize the name of the piece or its artist/writer? Where do we put the page numbers? What font should we use? It is incredible how much deliberation goes on when choosing something and seemingly simple as font! Order was also a priority, and we worked hard on this as well. Our challenge was to create a subtle narrative throughout the pages, and give the very different pieces cohesion, hopefully making it tempting to read the book cover to cover. Then there was just the last-minute problems! Cuts needed to be made, our cover had design issues... it is beyond lucky that we have an amazing team in our graphics department on campus (We love you guys!) and a binder with superhuman speed. Without them and our professor, Michael Wyly, we would not have made it in time.

And my fellow editors truly came together in our final hour! There were a few little bumps (and I few very large bumps...) and we were a collection of truly different personalities, but every person found a voice and a place to flourish. I truly hope that confidence and enthusiasm you found carries over into your life, because you kicked a lot of butt!

So the editors have sent out the book to be printed and bound, the letters to the writers and artists are all sent, and are records are up to date. What do we do now? We party, of course! On Friday, May 15th the editors, a few authors and fans of the written word gathered in the SCC library to witness the unveiling of our brainchild. We dressed in all our finest, read our favorite works, and had some of the writers read their's. It was a runaway success! We had our magazine for sale for the first time and we sold a decent number. Everyone had a blast (and homemade cookies!) and we recieved many compliments on our book. I will update again with pictures as soon as I collect them from various sources.

If you are wondering when you can get your hands on the 26th issue, fear not! It will not be long before we launch our webpage and we will be able to make the SVR avaliable for sale for the first time over the internet! I am very excited. Will update with more news.

Now that everything's over, we can breathe and relax until next year, right? WRONG! Our activity will not simply cease over the summer. We have a few goals that we will be focusing on for the next few months: The first is distribution. In addition to internet sales, we are determined to get SVR sold in our local bookstores. This is a matter of persuasion and time, possibly paperwork. And we will do it. The second is the forming of a collective (or a club, if you will) on campus for those of us who love the written word. We would encourage writers of every type to join and use our numbers to bring focus to the SVR, because we truly deserve to be recognized! If you are a student at SCC and are interested in an English/Creative Writing club, please email we would love to hear from you!

This blog is far from wrapped up, and we are far from finished. This is only the end of one chapter in the long history of the Suisun Valley Review - and a most eventful one at that!

Remember: love poetry, love prose, love ART, and support your local creative outlets!

Until next time,

SVR FTW!! (That's Suisun Valley Review For The Win, thank you)

- Elfie

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Long Break, Which Means Lots of NEWS.

It has been a while since I have posted, and that is because things are beginning to happen very rapidly with the magazine. And, since the deadline for written submissions is today, as I'm sure you recall, the speed will only increase from here on out.

The first news is that we have finished our cover design using one of the awesome images we were sent. I wish very much that I could tell you about it, or even show it to you, but of course this will be top secret until our release on May 15th. Suffice it to say that our focus was to be striking, original and to maintain a theme - I believe we did all of these things. This theme was a design decision for the cover alone and will in no way effect the process for the selection of the inside. The cover is the cover. Now that it is all done, we can turn our focus to the fun part (at least I think so!): reading and voting on poetry and fiction.

March was something of a calm before the storm, and so we were able to talk over some ideas that may become reality in our (short) weeks to come. Firstly, there has been a bit of discussion about possibly publishing the few color images we have already selected in their original color format inside the magazine (the cover is guaranteed in color). We are limited a bit by our graphics department here on campus, but there is a very good chance that, we will have two or three COLOR photographs and art inside. This is pretty exciting - it really gives you an idea of how far we are moving, and at what a rapid pace. Last year no color was possible besides two solid colors on the cover, which we opted against. Not only that, but it was only three years ago that the SVR was staple-bound, without the true binding we have had for the last two issues and now take for granted a bit. As years go on the magazine will only look more professional, and its renown will only grow. I look forward to this.

Secondly, an idea has been brought to our attention by the staff on campus to do something unheard of in all of SVR's history: solicit for manuscripts. The idea would be that we would ask one writer to give us his or her submission and publish it under a "featured writer" section. The idea is an interesting one, as we then had to ask ourselves how the magazine would be effected by a decision like this. It may increase recognition of the magazine, but is this truly a fit for what we see the Suisun Valley Review representing? For that matter what does the magazine represent? To put it simply, we decided that the Review is intended to be a reflection of Solano County and the surrounding areas first, and a review of national contributers second. Our focus is to provide a local voice and to bring talent from all over to the county. We have no agenda to publish already famous authors. So what to do with this idea? Michael brought up that we have a local poet come and read and answer questions at the school every spring, and wouldn't it be interesting if we linked our "featured writer" section with the featured reader section, creating a connection between what we do in class to things actually happening on campus and thereby presenting the outside with a complete picture of what the school as well as the class can do to contribute artistically to the world around it. We may even, should we have time, actually be able to sit and have a Q&A section with the writer, and then publish that within the magazine.

This is still in the works as a possibility right now, but seeing as our featured reader, Indigo Moor, visits us very shortly, we will have to make a decision and I will update you as soon as I can. Meanwhile: what do you think of this idea? Is it something that would make you want to read SVR?

Speaking of, it is has been a personal mission of mine to get the magazine sold over the internet so that all of you fine people will be able to read the new issue come May, as well as mave access to last year's issue. The online archive will cover all past issues, but the process of putting it up will take much time, moreso than we had anticipated. So I felt it was important to give everyone, not just locals, a taste of the quality of work that goes into the SVR. We are going to launch the SVR site very soon, perhaps as soon as next week, and when that happens it is my goal to also have a page to purchase a copy of last year's issue. I will keep you updated on this as well.

Today at our meeting we will begin our true process. We have set up a Wiki in order read submissions and vote, which will cut back amazingly on paper usage for this class (another genius move forward for the magazine). At 1 o'clock, we will each register to use the Wiki and thus, over the course of the weekend, start reading, voting and discussing our written submissions. I can't explain to you how excited I am, because I'm not sure if it makes sense. It would seem like this is the most stressful time, since we have so much to do and so few weeks left. But there is a sense of excitement, a sense of real purpose and meaning in our voting process, perhaps even a sense of honor in reading a part of someone's soul they put down on paper and then trusted us with. I can't tell you how much I look forward to us voting our first "yes"!

Until next time, we will be hard at work and you will be sending us your submission within the next twelve hours. Artists who submitted: We are going to have to wait until the final layout decision to send you news of your fate, unfortunately. Hang in there. We will not forget about you!

Wish us luck on our first week of reading!

- Elfie

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Late Update, Much to Cover.

Greetings to you all. I'm afraid that I have fallen a weekend behind, and will have to make up for it. But that only means that there is plenty to cover in this entry.

So. What makes for a quality piece of writing? Does it follow traditional trails, or does it defamiliarize? When one reads it aloud, does it flow in a pleasant, or at least interesting way? Will the reader be moved by this piece? Will the reader be disturbed? If so, why? Does this seem intentional? What would give one the ability to make a concrete, confident decision to publish one piece over another, or, for that matter, one over a great many?

We began on the 2nd of March (last Monday) with this conversation. The most interesting part of this course is that people can bring to the table different levels of experience and therefore different levels of confidence and insight. Building that confidence and learning to tap that insight will give us the eclectic mix of editorial opinion that we will need to make various decisions.

We also spoke a bit about the Quinton Duval award in creative writing, which has just been introduced this year. The editors have very little to do with the process, but entries for the award will be sent to our address, since the winner will be published within our pages. Quinton Duval is a former teacher at Solano Community College, and only SCC students will be eligible for the award. Duval himself will decide the winner.

On Wednesday we began to look over the visual art we were sent, and I hope I'm not stepping outside my role as an editor so say: Those images were killer! Thank you to everyone who got in their art. It will be hard to pick a small amount from the large pool of great ones we got, but we will do our best and let you artists know asap. We are also going to be talking cover very shortly, which is a secret I expect I'll have to sit on... I expect I'll have trouble with that.

On Friday, Michael Wyly, our professor, and I met with Scott Ota, webmaster of the SCC site. Our hopes were tentative and abstract, but generally we wanted to begin the steps to create a space exclusive to the SVR that would link to the SCC main page and start the project of uploading back issues into an archive. Scott surprised us by giving us much more of a creative say and becoming enthusiastic about giving us the means. We are going to meet with him again with the information to create informational pages for the magazine itself as well as the course, set up a page as a hub for all of our other faces (including this one), set up a few pages as writers' resources, including contact information and submission guidelines, and a space to begin filling as our archive (this, however, will most likely take several months). Also, we were encouraged to find a way to lay out the pages simply but uniquely, and Scott told us he could set up something classy without too much of an issue.

I am very excited to think that we will have an all-encompassing online presence! And I will update everyone with the details as they come to me.

Last week was our busiest so far, and I expect they will get exponentially busier still. The written submissions we have received so far are relatively scant, so if you will, please take another look at our submission guidelines (below, the first entry) and don't procrastinate in sending prose and poems to us. We cannot wait to read them.

Yesterday we had a very focused day and finished viewing all of those pictures. We are down to about twenty finalists which should be down to less than ten in a few weeks.

As always, tell your friends about us, if you have any questions, it's, and tell your friends about an established literary magazine finally coming into its own. And don't forget to say that we're taking submissions until the first of April!

- Elfie

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some News and Some Pictures.

(Left to right) Chelsea, Robin and Farid. The girls
try their best not to feel awkward. Farid does
his best to make the camera feel awkward.

Beth (left) and Barbara (right) kind of wreck the candidness
of these photos, but they have pretty smiles
we forgive them.

This part of the circle has an oblong/amoeba shape
to it. Our fault. (Left to right) Devin, me (Elfie),
Travis, Julia, Trung and Chelsea again.

Editors missing from these pictures: Chris, Justin, Jason, Richard.

Hello again, on this, another one of our random sunny days.

The editors have been meeting with a sense of determination over the past week - we are focused completely on soliciting submissions from YOU (yes you), in order to have an abundance of interesting and quality art, poetry and prose to publish in the coming issue. Each meeting we "circle the wagons" (see above) and discuss in true round table fashion more and improved ways of getting the word out about SVR. Every little plug counts, just like every submission counts.

The project that is top priority at the moment is getting our fliers and posters to each corner of the county and beyond. Our editors have all become pushers, distributing our fliers hopefully as far east as Sacramento and as far west as San Francisco. Soon you won't be able to go anywhere in the Bay Area or anywhere near the capitol without seeing SUISUN VALLEY REVIEW!

Also, I ask all of our online allies to help out in a few small ways: remember the deadlines (3/4 for visual art submissions, 4/1 for written) and remind your creative acquaintances; repost our bulletins, reminders and tweets when you see them; and, if you are sending us anything, do it sooner rather than later! We are very anxious to start considering your work.

There is another piece of news that I'd like to share. There is always a conversation that we need to have prior to the consideration of pieces that we have had, and has led to a decision. It is part of the course description (as stated in the catalogue at Solano College) that the editors may also, if they choose, submit their own work to be considered for the magazine. This leads to many questions: How do we go about doing this? Can we retain fairness during this process? Some of us even suggested to abandon this practice all together. But, as it is part of the course, all of us would need to agree to this in order for it to be legitimate.

We came to the conclusion that, since this is an entirely personal decision, each individual would make it themselves. Our process for this will be that each editor who submits will slip their submission in with the others, using a pseudonym. Then we go through and vote on it, no one else being aware that "Jane Doe" is actually Elfie Nelson, for example. Only after the piece or pieces are accepted and the book is arranged would I annouce that I am actually "Jane Doe". And in order to retain complete transparancy, a note will be placed in the beginning of the magazine explaining this process. All will be as fair as we can make it.

That is all I have for this week. Until we meet again, we will practice, plaster posters, and continue to spread the word.

Until next time (Remember that the art submission deadline is this coming Wednesday!),

- Elfie

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The First Month...

Greetings from a sunny and fair Suisun Valley.

Our first few weeks as a new group of editors has been exciting as well as busy. Exciting because we are taking the first few steps to creating the 26th edition of SVR; busy because we are starting our process with an entirely clean slate. Beginning from scratch means a lot to brainstorm, build, and decide, and because of our time constraints we must do these things all in only a few meetings.

We have been successful so far in agreeing on a deadline for visual art submissions and written submissions, designing our flier and poster (which we will be plastering our county with soon), deciding on a voting process that all of us are comfortable with, and we are currently in the process of practicing this process in order to hammer out any kinks before we look at any of you wonderful people's work. This time is particularly important, so that we may not only give each piece that we are sent the proper time and consideration, but also so that we may find our respective niches in the class and build relationships and respect.

Having been an SVR editor twice before, I must say that perhaps the most positive and empowering aspect of the course is simply the camaraderie the editors acquire amongst themselves. We walk into this class having almost nothing in common besides our interest in the magazine, and when it's all over we have the ability to respect each other. We are unlikely friends because we went through the trials and frustrations and arguments that we did putting together this magazine, and we share a pride for it that cannot be easily explained. I am looking forward to the point in our journey at which we can all have our voices heard and have a great time around each other.

I'm already encouraged because there are so many of us that are pumped about some extracurricular jobs we're going to be taking on this year. There are those of us who would like to see an expansion in distribution, and some who can even give us the means to do it. That's right, that means our next issue may not be sold only at the release party and the college bookstore! We are also working to complete a bound archive of all of our past issues to be on display in the college library, as well as an online archive FREE to browse for any interested parties. And, speaking of online, each and every one of our pages on the web should be centralized on the Solano College website, for optimal advertisement for both the magazine and the class.

I am here to keep you updated on all of our goals, as well as our process as we begin to read and decide on those pieces I know you're sending us. Be sure to read our submission guidelines (below). Also, check us out on our Myspace, or, if you prefer the Facebook scene, you can add us here. Or you can join our Tribe. For those of you who enjoy updates one or two sentences at a time, you can follow us on Twitter.

Until next time (same SVR time, same SVR channel),


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Submission Guidelines 2009!




The Suisun Valley Review is looking for new and unpublished works of poetry and short fiction to put in our next issue. No preference is given to any specific style or genre, we seek simply original works of quality.

Manuscripts should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope and a brief biography for use in the authors' notes upon publication. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable as long as they are indicated as such. Editors will respond in approximately four to six weeks after receipt of submissions. Successful submissions in prose and fiction typically do not exceed 2,500 words.

Authors of accepted submissions receive two copies of the magazine gratis.
Mail all manuscripts to the following address:

The Suisun Valley Review
English Department/Humanities
Solano Community College
4000 Suisun Valley Road
Fairfield, CA 94534-3197
Electronic submissions are accepted as attachments in Rich Text Format (.rtf) only and may be emailed to Unreadable formats will be deleted unread.

If you have any questions or need more information, email the editors at

The Suisun Valley Review is now accepting visual art submissions!

Send us your art and photography for the front cover and possible inclusion within the pages of the magazine. Submissions should: Be in either color or b&w, be in .TIF or .JPEG format if sent electronically and images should not exceed 8 1/2'' by 11'' OR 5 megabytes. Images will be judged on appropriateness with respect to both the contents of the magazine and the academic environment. Send all submissions to the addresses listed above.