By Sandra Zunino
Creating characters that touch our lives, passages that elicit tears, spinning words together as a spider weaves her web to fill our hearts, touch our souls or educe a smile: such is the task of the writer.
The Delmarva Review promises and delivers stories and poetry that express the human condition. With the first edition released only last June, a second edition is already underway. The Delmarva Review, published by the Eastern Shore Writers’ Association (ESWA), is a literary review of short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and short reviews.
The ESWA is a non-profit organization of writers across the Delmarva Peninsula. The Review began as a members-only publication that came out four times a year. Eventually the ESWA decided to produce a full literary review open to all writers.
“The idea is to discover authors and poets with the best work from this region,” explains Wilson Wyatt Jr., President of the ESWA and Chairman of The Delmarva Review Editorial Board. Through the Internet; however, the Review has received submissions from around the world.
“One of the advantages we hope The Delmarva Review provides is the opportunity for writers to see their work in print,” says Wilson. This is becoming increasingly rare as works are frequently published exclusively on the Internet. Additionally, board members want to create an opportunity for undiscovered writers to get their work published.
In the first edition, works from 24 authors included 17 poems, six short stories and two book reviews. That book was comprised of 72 pages. The second edition will be at least that size, if not larger with an increased production of copies.
“We would like to publish a larger press run for a wider distribution,” says Wilson. However, board members advise growing the publication gradually. “We have some experienced editors on our board and I think they have been very wise in giving that advice,” he adds.
In addition to Wilson, The Delmarva Review’s Editorial Board includes Linda Fritz, editor, Mala Burt, managing editor, John Elsberg, editor of Bogg literary magazine in Arlington, VA, Peter Howell, critic and former arts editor of The Star Democrat, George Merrill and Margot Miller. The copy editor is Jeanne Pinault. Laura Ambler is the design editor.
The Review seeks material influenced by the land, people and cultures of the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva region. Writers are invited to submit unpublished “evocative” fiction up to 3,000 words, poetry up to 40 lines, and creative nonfiction up to 1,500 words through December 31. Specific guidelines and submission information are posted on www.delmarvareview.com.
“We would like essays that relate to people from the region, but will consider other writings,” says Wilson. “Basically, we are interested in writing that emulates the human condition.” Already there have been enough submissions to fill the issue, but the board will not finalize the acceptances until the submission period ends.
“The real challenge is in the selection process,” explains Wilson. Submissions are given to readers of each genre. The readers’ identities remain secret. Likewise, the writers identities are withheld from the readers. Anything worth considering goes on to the editor. Acceptable material is then reviewed for overall cohesiveness.
The many volunteer hours devoted by board members and readers have been a labor of love, says Wilson. Published authors receive a free copy as compensation. Funding for the publication comes from the ESWA with grant money provide by the Talbot County Arts Council.
The first edition received an excellent response, according to Wilson. “Integrity of the publication is so important,” he says, “particularly in the beginning and we must maintain that.”