Reviewed by Christina Beiter
Westwind is a literary journal that prints poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, art, music, and other forms of media. It is created by both UCLA undergraduates and undergraduates across America and has existed for over fifty years. The cover of this issue is a green and blue tie-dye cover with three birds in the middle. It is simple and yet elegant. The work within this journal spans over a variety of emotions, from powerful and uplifting pieces to devastatingly beautiful, allowing any reader to find something that will remain with them even once the pages are closed.
Westwind accepts works from new and experienced writers and artists. The works can be created in a more modern style or in a traditional style. Westwind wishes to find writers and artists who seek their opportunity to produce something worth sharing with the world because “the real story of the world can never be complete until every story within it has been shared.” The layout of the journal is very easy to navigate virtually, and I liked that the poems, prose and art are interspersed rather than sectioned off. It made the flow of the journal that much smoother and only aided in piquing my interest.
In the poem “Yesterday The Wind” by Douglas Barricklow, the imagery is beautifully heartbreaking. With lines like, “pointed at naked branches shivering in the sun/ peering between finger clouds at dry corpses/ blown against the fence,” the sadness of the trees and the dismal nature of the surroundings really reflects this mourning we can all relate to. It painted the fall as a synonym for human emotion in a seamless way that will stick with me.
“I Have A Good Dream Facilitated By An Angel” by Susan Monoghan is a wonderful example of the incredible prose in this journal. This piece is about a dream in which someone wishes to be known for the good they’ve done, but for what purpose? She writes, “You want to see these people, when they know how brave you’ve been. What could you see that’d make you content, what do you want from them? What would make you ready for judgment?” I think this is an inner question we all can relate to at times. We want to show people how great we are, but why? Why does the validation of others outweigh our own? This piece uses beautiful imagery and language to question this point, as well as others, and is sure to make any reader look at their own mindset a bit differently because of it.
Westwind has a variety of art included in its pages. There are photographs, smaller black and white pieces that accompany poems or prose, and even large pieces that take up whole pages. It helps this journal to be even more moving as it provides a visual representation of some of the emotion these pieces portray. One of my personal favorite pieces of art would be Citrus Friend by Kendall Moore. It has a very realistic drawing of a boy in the center. The background is black and white, but it’s accented with raindrops and clouds cut out of book pages. There are beautifully colored lemons creating a kind of crown around his head. Moore draws white vines and flowers around him standing off from the black background, and yet he remains the focal point of the artistic piece.
Westwind is a beautifully crafted journal that is full of incredible works created by talented undergraduate students. It provides a platform for creativity and self-expression that stands out from the rest. I hope the pieces I highlighted encourage others to take a look for themselves. The full version of this incredible journal is available on their website.