April 5, 2015
Review by Julia Fox, Susquehanna University, Class of 2016
Westwind is a print literary magazine featuring the work of students at the University of California, Los Angeles. It includes prose, poetry, and art. I reviewed the 2013 edition.
Alexander Kinnear writes in his poem “Ode to Imitation, or Modern Revival,” “Sunset, boulevard of dreams, lead me / Home to her—Los Angeles calls all toward / Her, sons and daughters, sinners, dreamers we / Lovers like sea gulls hovering dying waves.” I, too, feel the call. I am the daughter, the sinner, the dreamer who let the strong, new voices featured in the 2013 issue of Westwind move me with purpose from poem to poem, story to story, charged language fueling my journey. Westwind is UCLA’s only literary and arts publication, and it makes good on its promise to “publish exciting and innovative work” that is “fresh, intelligent, and uniquely personal.”
Like the public buses described in Izzah Khan’s “Naseema,” this magazine is “never too full to take on more passengers,” and its readers arrive at “[d]estinations invisibly / riveted in rigid suspension, equilibrated,” like Gabriel Malikian writes in his poem “Passport Song.” While reading this professionally crafted, yet tastefully bold magazine, I found myself lingering at those destinations—the aftermath of a car crash where I hear “the last flatulent creak of metal that had just been flame, the dented pop of swell and shrink like sap in logs;” standing beside the narrator in Josh Aichenbaum’s story “Unkind,” while he waits with his girl and her mother, watching the tarmac, waiting for the body bags to be carried out, remembering how the word unkind “reminded [his girl] of children;” or musing about a failing marriage in Cody Koester’s poem “Cracks,” in which, “we all crack up together, my mother in my father’s arms the way they must have held each other before all this, the burgers burning on the barbecue, the pavement still warm in the dusk.” I revel in these moments that are vivid and visceral, but I am still moving forward, face pressed to the glass of the bus window so I don’t miss a single image, a single word, a single emotion emanating off the page in each work presented here.
As a whole, Westwind is distinctive of its UCLA home, and although much of it is grounded with a certain California flavor, the varied voices call and connect with readers from any place, appealing to the diversity of contributor as well as reader.
Of course, this content is presented in a sleek, perfect-bound journal that speaks to the energetic movement of the content through its visuals. The letter “i” in Westwind has been replaced with the purple silhouette of a bird, probably a seagull hovering, with Sam Bivin’s untitled artwork, reminiscent of the adventure film North by Northwest, taking center stage in bright colors. The gyrating blades of the helicopter sway the palm trees, and even at first glance I suspect that this journal will whisk me away to sunny skies, or maybe some place darker. Regardless, I will not want to look away.
Westwind is a visual journal for the visionary by the visionary, a showcase of the best literary work UCLA has to offer. As I traveled through the pages, I picked up souvenirs, treasures that will linger in me long after the adventure is over, and after a full and satisfying read, I, the reader, only want to return.