The Blue Route (Review)
Reviewed by Marcos Colon
Widener University’s online undergraduate literary magazine, The Blue Route, is exceptionally made, with each page brimming with unique prose, photography and art. According to the magazine’s editor, Megan Corkery, the central theme present among the different works is “familiarity and its uprooting,” especially while living during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Here, unique authors share their stories though a submission process wherein contributors submit up to three poems or one work of prose of up to 3,000 words.
Each coming from different perspectives and locations, contributors to the magazine expertly construct their respective prose and artistry to match a certain representation of this main theme. One example is Kristian Perez’s work, “A Florida Boy Remembers His Island.” Perez applies this theme of familiarity to the perspective of an immigrant family as they adapt to living in a nation where “what is white, is free, and what is brown, immigrant.” What Perez does in this prose is demonstrate how the immigrant family keeps their culture alive through their dance while moving “as one under the same stars,” so that one day they may be able to return to their homeland “if only for one moment.”
Allison DeHaas’ artwork next to Perez’s work perfectly illustrates this point by putting two clouds that are separated by a gap right next to each other, signifying Perez’s themes of language and locational barriers and familiarity. This type of editorial construction is brilliant for many of the other pieces in this journal, because the reader can visualize the work and therefore become more connected to the artistry of both prose and art.
In addition to the rich and varied prose and art, The Blue Route’s 24th issue features an interview— conducted by Corkery— with the musician and poet Sadie Dupuis, where she draws upon her poetry and musical collaborations with artists such as Lizzo in providing unique advice about a career in the arts. A “product of a capitalist country,” in her own words, Dupuis originally went to MIT for mathematics, but dropped out to follow her passion for poetry and music. Her father was previously in the music business but later worked in the family business due to a lack of proving ground for successful opportunities. Dupuis’ father was initially concerned about her career choice, but still supported her as she attained incredible success. She dedicated her first poetry book, Mouthguard, to her father in 2018, as he had passed away from illness. “I think the fact that I was able to do a book and have it be successful would’ve meant a lot to him,” Dupuis said. When Corkery asks Dupuis about the common stigmas of going into a music career, she explains how “education should be more holistic,” based on her philosophy that in a capitalist country “we’re always kind of looking to maximize our productivity and what we can earn.” Based on her experience in Denmark and its holistic approach to the arts and sciences, Dupuis encourages anyone, regardless of their age, to follow their passions and “learn from their mistakes” so they can build up their skills and an interconnected community to produce something they can be proud of “someday.”
The editors, writers, and artists did an exemplary job constructing this issue. The prose and art are well-constructed, and the editing itself is top-notch and professional. By also including an interview with Sophie Dupuis, undergraduate students can not only gain insight into how they can pursue their passions through careers, but also help encourage others who have never shared their unique voices with the world. From Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, The Blue Route online journal can be a stepping stone for writers in both sharing their work and celebrating the creative ideas of others through a complete process of interconnected knowledge and understanding.