article written by Sophie Poirier
Preparing myself a hot cup of tea, I open my laptop to this week’s subpack.
A subpack is a collection of about a dozen anonymous submissions that is sent out every week for OAR readers to evaluate.
It always fills me with joy knowing I’m a part of a process that supports and encourages local artists and writers. Sometimes the submissions include visual arts, sometimes it’s poetry, and on rare occasions, the subpack will include a short story. Being an artist and a writer myself, I love being able to see other people’s creations. As I read or look at a work of art, I always imagine the artist’s creative process. How did they come up with an idea? Was the work planned out detail by detail? Or was it something created spontaneously?
My creative process is a mixture of both. Sometimes an idea pops into my head, and I get so excited about it that I immediately start working on it. Other times, it takes a little bit more work. I like to imagine the artist’s/writer’s enthusiasm as they complete their final version to submit their work to the Ottawa Arts Review.
While I love thinking positively about the submissions I read, I still remain critical of each one. I’ve always loved art and literature for its ability to evoke emotion and convey a message. I tend to give better ratings to works that I feel do that effectively. Other factors are also considered, such as technical factors. While some works can be different in style and subject matter and others can be very similar, it’s important for me to look at each submission separately from the others.
Being an English Literature student, I’ve learned how to effectively analyze works of art/literature, and I like to apply that thought-process when I prepare comments and ratings for the OAR submissions.
So as I sit there sipping on my tea, I read/look over each submission, making comments along the way based on my first impressions. After a break, I look over each work again with close precision, writing down additional thoughts and a final rating.
Sending my completed comments to the Submissions Director is always a satisfying task. Wondering about which works will be published in the OAR issue, I get excited to see the issue in its completed form, knowing I was part of this wonderful process.