Posted by Lee Bivens on April 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm
On April 2, Washington State University Vancouver’s Salmon Creek Journal (SCJ) hosted a large party on campus in celebration of their 2015 edition. The event opened with refreshments provided by Freshi, a local Vancouver restaurant, accompanied by a photo booth for attendees to capture the moment. There was a performance by David Romero, a spoken word artist, and the event closed with the recognition of those who were published in the journal.
Originating from Diamond Bar, California, Romero said that he has been performing at spoken word events semi-professionally for four years, and has gone full-time for the past two years, starting to “back away from part-time jobs.” Spoken word artists are those who create poetry and perform it live in unique and interesting ways. At the event, Romero shared a wide variety of personal works, from his iconic and lighthearted “Cheese Enchiladas,” to more emotional pieces such as “Undocumented Football,” a tale about a Latino student who immigrates to the U.S. and tries to establish a future through his high school football career. Grace Rascher, anthropology major at WSU Vancouver, said that she thought the event “was really enjoyable,” and her favorite part of the event was Romero’s performance of “Cheese Enchiladas.”
Starting with a passion for freestyle rapping, Romero said that he gained his interest in spoken word after watching underground performances by Saul Williams and Sage Francis, both rappers and spoken word performers. Romero also said that both performers inspired him to pursue spoken word through open-mike nights, mostly performing at colleges and universities. Romero said that while performing spoken word has “been a really great ride,” his advice to those interested is to treat it like a job. “You have to abandon virtually everything else… you have to write all day,” said Romero, who averages working 12-hour days writing poetry, setting up events and preparing for the next workshop.
The majority of the SCJ staff attended the event, celebrating those who were published and making sure everything ran smoothly. Seamus Davis, SCJ’s prose editor, said that his favorite part of the event was Romero’s performance, saying, “A lot of what he said really jives with me,” loving his interactivity with the audience. Davis is one of the main people in charge of deciding which prose are selected and formatted for the journal, having the final say. Davis would like to thank everyone that submitted to the journal. Davis also said that while a lot of tough decisions had to be made, more submissions equates to a better journal, encouraging all students, staff, faculty and alumni to submit as much of their work as they want to.
Several people were honored at the event and received an editor’s choice award for their work. Manuel Mendoza won editor’s choice for his painting called Wy’East Sunrise, saying that it captures the beauty of the Pacific Northwest; he donated the painting to WSU Vancouver. Melissa Boles was also recognized for her prose piece, “Campaign,” as was Kathryn Ann Freese’s poem “Orangeville,” and Brian Idle’s musical piece “Light of Love.”
Jennifer Schwartz, SCJ’s poetry editor, said “it’s important to keep the arts alive,” wanting everyone to know that “we do accept performance art.” Idle’s musical piece was the only performance art in the journal.
The Salmon Creek Journal is currently hiring. Applications and information can be found at salmoncreekjournal.com/jobs. The current deadline for applications is May 4. More on event guest David Romero can be found at his website, DavidARomero.com. For more information on the Salmon Creek Journal, go to salmoncreekjournal.com or email the SCJ staff at