Aôthen

Magazine

A classics publication

COLUMNS

Op-eds, interviews, articles, and more


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about

Aôthen Magazine (named after the Doric Greek term for the earliest dawn) is a magazine that is dedicated to all kinds of classics-inspired content; artworks, poetry, essays, reviews, photography, and more as a celebration of both archaeology and history.Aôthen aims to create an enviroment for others to cultivate their interest in classics, as well as to make classics accessible and enjoyable to all.


about the editor-in-chief

Aôthen Magazine is run by Samantha Ng, a UCL Classical Archaeology and Classical Civilization student. Her experience as a WOC student struggling to engage in classics fuelled her desire to start Aôthen in hopes of creating an environment where classical studies are accessible to those without formal classics education. Samantha has been published twice in Ethos Magazine (HK). She has worked as an editor at Coexist Lit and Incognito Press and is currently an outreach intern for the Saving Ancient Studies Alliance. Apart from writing, she enjoys graphic design, listening to music, and walking through parks.


about the team

Kaitlin Smith favors classical mythology and literature, namely specializing in romantic tragedies. She studied creative writing at university and currently works in a bookstore. Her poetry has been featured in Allegory Ridge, Hecate Magazine, and more. She was previously the managing editor of Wrongdoing Magazine and is currently a fiction reader for Reservoir Road. Aside from classics, she also adores writing, photography, and the violin. Connect with her on Twitter and on Instagram @kaitlin_writes.

Dominic Wexler studied history, ancient history, and philosophy for his bachelor’s degree and is currently undertaking a graduate degree in law. He is also an aspiring essayist whose work has been published in the L’Esprit Literary Review and hopes to be published again. His interests are broad, from literature to politics. Despite a busy schedule, reading and writing about the classics has remained a fixture in Dominic’s life. You can find him on Twitter @djwexler.

Abby Masucol (she/her) hails from the Chicago suburbs. She recently graduated college and is pursuing publishing, amongst various interests and passion projects in digital media. Abby also writes poems and short fiction in her free time. When she's not writing, she works as a part-time (glorified) librarian, collects prints, and reads fantasy series. Find her on Twitter & Instagram @abbytama_.


contact us

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support

Before supporting us, please consider donating to a few of the below charities/relief funds! (click image to be redirected)

To support Aôthen, you can:
- Buy a copy of our magazine
- Purchase an expedited submission pass (get a submission response in 48 hours or less!)
- Tip us on kofi
- Buy our merchandise
- Spread the word about our magazine!

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED

Please only send pieces related to ancient Egypt, Greece, and RomeAll contributors will receive a 10 USD honorarium (Paypal only), and a high-resolution PDF of the magazine. All work will be published in print and on this website.Not wanting to wait out the usual 3 week response time? We now offer 48 hour expedited responses via our Ko-fi for 3USD. Get a pass here. (Regular submissions will always be free!)Previous contributors should kindly wait one reading period before submitting again in order to increase the diversity of pieces published.Submissions should be sent through the form at the bottom of the page. Emailed submissions will go unread.


What we are looking for:
ONLY pieces related to classics/ancient Egypt, including:
- Poetry (up to 5 poems per submission)
- Essays (opinion or otherwise) (max. 2500 words)
- Short fiction (max. 1000 words)
- Photography (eg. of artefacts or sites)
- Art (digital or traditional)
- Classical translation extracts (max. 1000 words)
- Hybrid works
The magazine is looking for work that approaches classics in a new, fresh manner. We'd love to see more abstract, contemporary, and modern interpretations of classical history and myths.

An interview by Aôthen discussing what we look for in submissions


issues


issue one


contributors

Steph Harris
Brian Sheffield
Prosper Ifeanyi
Irina Novikova
Helen Jenks
Amanda Williams
Ginger Hanchey
Jonathan Rentler
Enna Horn
Megan Hamilton
Ame McLachan
Clem Flowers
Kaitlin Smith
Michelle Rochniak
Josephine Weaver
Courtney Felle

issue two


contributors

K.B. Rich
Tom Farr
Andy Vandoren
Livia Meneghin
Niamh Mcnally
Noll Griffin
Natalie Vestin
Megan Jones
Abi Deniz
Hana Kim
Hilary Tam
Paulin Lim
Louise Mather
Khushi Jain
Irteqa Khan

issue three


contributors

Michelle Janowiecki
Kahina
April Yu
s. g. mallett
Tamiko Dooley
Muhammed Olowonjoyin
Italo Ferrante
J.W. Wood
Rebecca Ferrier
Justin Cruzana
rebecca herrera alegria
Anthony O'Donovan
Nupur Shah
Alev Adil
L.M. Cole
Poppy Waterman
K.T. Clark

issue four

contributors


Bob King
Ella Bachrach
Ellen Zhang
Lauren Michelle Finkle
Mary Kuna
Elizabeth Sharpe
Inez Santiago
Paxton Grey
Rin Yang
Stephanie Holden
Amy Oates

issue five

contributors


Adesiyan Oluwapelumi
Lux Alexander
Elaine Server
Ciaran O'Rourke
Kathryn McGrane
nat raum
Laura Nuckols
Emily O Liu
Edith Friedman
Emily Mather
TJ Bradshaw
Lilirose Luo
Bex Hainsworth
Serena Piccoli

issue 1 - spring '22


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issue 2 - summer '22


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issue 3 - autumn '22


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issue 4 - spring '23


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issue 5 - summer '23


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interview with melanie faith

beating writer's block, getting published, and more


Samantha Ng, EIC
Melanie Faith, MFA, Author


Thank you for joining me for an interview today, Melanie! I see that one of your books is titled From Promising to Published, so my first question for you is: What advice do you have for people who are looking to get their work published?

No matter what setbacks arise, keep at it. By this I mean: work on multiple projects and set a recurrent goal with a date attached (such as submitting monthly on the first or last day of the month).
Also, know that getting an acceptance letter is rarely a “one and done” process. Most of the published writers I know submit their work numerous times (ten, twenty, forty, fifty or more) times until it finds the perfect-fit agents, editors, or publishers that publish their work. Many, many writers give up after submitting work just two or three times. If you believe in the work, keep submitting it. Perseverance goes a long way towards publication, as does writing and sending works to editors on a regular basis. The more you write consistently, the more you submit consistently, and the more you believe in your work consistently while learning craft through reading books and taking classes or workshopping or getting suggestions from a beta reader, the better chances you have at publication. You can do it!


That’s some good advice! But when you have to write consistently, how do you work around creative/writer’s block?

Great question! I work on multiple projects at once. I alternate between poetry and prose as well as one-off/individual pieces and book-length work. Whenever I’m at a standstill or whenever a draft needs some breathing room before a new draft, I create individual pieces on unrelated subjects or in a different genre to give the muse room. So far in 2022, I’ve been working on two poetry books with very different historical settings, a third draft of my contemporary novel, the first few essays that might become a nonfiction book sometime in the future, and numerous individual micro flash fictions with food themes.
An advantage of working on different projects is that, when I return to a resting project after a few days or weeks, I can see the draft with fresh eyes, noting what is actually in the draft compared to what I thought I’d put in there. I have to say also that teaching and taking creative writing classes as well as having writing friends and beta readers who encourage and champion projects are ways that I’ve worked around creative/writer’s block and which I’d recommend to other writers as well.


What inspires you to write books for writers?

When I first started out as an unpublished author, there weren’t a lot of resources online or offline about how to become a creative writer or how to reach a target audience after publishing. I love sharing what I’ve learned about developing my writing, editing, publishing, and marketing skills with other creative writers who may not yet know of all of the exciting possibilities for their writing and publishing careers. As a longtime teacher, I’ve learned so much about the struggles and joys that writers in all stages of the writing life experience and then persevere to make their dreams come true. My favorite days are when I receive emails from readers, students, editing clients, and friends who have gone on to get acceptance letters for their work. Also, writing books to spark creativity and writing fulfillment has always been a dream of mine. Writing about the writing process enhances and inspires my own creative path. Each craft book I write reminds me both of what I’ve learned in my writing practice and also makes me curious about what I want to explore and/or learn next. All of these ingredients go into the recipe for making my craft books for writers. Text


What brought you to explore the relationship between photography and writing?

I’ve always loved cameras and photography. Not only does photography document life but also it has amazing storytelling possibilities. I’ve been taking photos since I got a robin’s egg blue Kodak 110 camera from my parents for Christmas in high school.
After grad school (MFA in Creative Writing, Concentration in Poetry), I started to learn digital camera techniques and placed several of my photographs with literary magazines. When I created an online photography class a few years ago that specifically focuses on photographic imagery from a writer’s POV and how the two artistic disciplines can enhance each other, I searched for a class text that explored both arts in reference to each other. I found many wonderful books about photography and many other stellar books about writing, but there weren’t any books about photography from a writer’s very unique set of skills and talents like I wanted to combine them. I saw an opportunity to write my own book about the topic and to fill a gap in the market. I had a lot of fun compiling the book, dreaming up prompts, personal essays, and tips to make practicing both arts an even more meaningful, inspired process.


Your work definitely seems to encompass a lot of depth! What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

I aim for my readers to reconnect with the joy of writing and/or creating art as they read my books. I want to remind them of why it’s hopeful, challenging, and fulfilling to be a writer. I hope that my books give writers new suggestions that fire them up to continue to fill pages with prose and/or poetry. I fill my books with practical tips that writers can apply to real-world drafting, editing, and submitting goals, so I also aspire for the books to cheer on readers and encourage them that, despite the rejections slips that we all get (I’ve gotten over 900 over them over the years!), there is endless possibility and quite often great camaraderie in the writing life. Also, I want my books to communicate that readers have the talent and the knowledge they need to keep writing and to meet their writing and publishing goals.


aôthen artifact project

The Aôthen Artifact Project is a drive to raise awareness about artefacts with disputed ownership, especially those that have been placed in museum collections as a consequence of colonialism. The project has two aims; to raise money for various BIPOC archaeological funds and to encourage critical thought about museum ethics. Helping this project is very simple and comes at a benefit to you. Aôthen will be selling bags, prints, pins, clothes, and more with the below designs on Redbubble. By purchasing a product, you are funding donations for charity and signalling support for the cause.The specific charities are the Society of Black Archaeologists, the Native American Relief Fund, and the Ancient India & Iran Trust. 100% of profits will be split equally between the charities.Protect heritage, think critically, and decolonize archaeology.

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interview with ari lohr

Exploring their debut full-length collection, "Gravity", being queer, and the experience of writing


Samantha Ng (EIC)
Ari Lohr


Do you think that writing Gravity changed the way you view your experiences and queer existence? In what way?Gravity is, as you’d expect, at its core a way for me to cope with and explain the trauma which I experienced as a queer adolescent. If anything, writing this book simply reinforced many of the notions I’ve had about the queer community; namely, that our contemporary access to other queer individuals — particularly on apps such as grindr — has in many ways merely compounded the trauma that queers of past generations struggled with. Growing up in a progressive area, my queerness took on a cosmopolitan, yet undeniably melodramatic quality, with the oppression levied against previous generations becoming increasingly subtle, and increasingly integrated with the very social institutions which the queer community originally created to shelter itself from a violent and oppressive civilization. All of this is to say that the permeation of queerness into more mainstream cultures, and the broadening inclusivity and inter-connection within queer circles, has found its benefits to be coupled with a profound cost: many queer adolescents, particularly young gay men such as myself, feel extremely isolated, a sensation which appears to be different from yet remarkably similar to the overwhelming sense of danger that previous queer generations faced. From the ages of 16 through 18, I met, hooked up with, pined after, and was abandoned by a dozen young gay men, many of whom were experiencing a similar sense of isolation as myself, and yet nonetheless opted to go on grindr in a desperate, self-effacing bid to feel less alone — even as queerness, and its many dimensions, became more and more represented in popular culture.


Many poems in your collection have quite abstract structures, is there a reason for this, or something you hope the reader takes away from the abstraction?
I feel as if a lot of my writing takes place via association. In Gravity, I spend a lot of time trying to make sense of scattered memories and emotions, and hence a lot of the poems can feel quite jarring to read. The structure of the book itself reflects this as well, as one poem might be about an anti-queer hate crime and another might be about something comparatively mundane, such as my teeth. In hindsight, Gravity feels like a conglomeration of all the angst and anxiety I felt as a teen, boxed in yet bursting at the seams, a quiet paroxysm. For readers, I imagine that the vivid-ness of Gravity can be quite uncomfortable, if not for the experiences of which I write, then simply because the mere act of reading a book this raw is an incredibly voyeuristic act. If anything, I think I want the structure and form of the poems to reflect all this, as if the reader were peering directly into my thoughts, poetic and rich or whatever but also very rough around the edges, almost lacking.


Which poem (or line) was the most emotional for you to write? Why?
I don’t know. I honestly don’t really feel emotions as I write. Despite the language of this collection, I’m so detached from these experiences now that I can only remember them with the benefit of hindsight (or simply when I’m not focused on producing ‘book-quality’ work). “Getting High in Your Car” is one of the most recent poems I’ve written, and it almost wasn’t included in the book because of this. Although it takes place near the beginning of the book, it was originally written in reference to my current relationship, which I am so grateful to say is both healthy and fulfilling, at last, at last. So I guess I would say that this poem was the most emotional for me to write — because it’s one of the only poems in this collection that truly comes from a place of hope and healing (despite the narrative it takes on in this collection). As for a particular line? “This / is death / before death.” from the aforementioned poem, simply for the sake of the spiritual quality which it takes on. The line is a spin on the phrase ‘Die before you die’, which has become a beacon for how I want to live my ‘life’.


Which poem (or line) is your favorite? Why?
I hate this question! Thank you! As if I did not have enough reasons to be pretentious, I must jerk myself off further by directly referencing my favorite line and / or poem in my own book. In all seriousness, “Gravity”, the poem from which this book derives its name, is probably my favorite piece in this collection. Although many of this book’s poems (particularly “Essay On Leaving”) touch on similar subjects with much more sophisticated language, “Gravity” was the first poem that I wrote for this collection that truly stuck; it was the inspiration, and catalyst, behind 100 more pages of work, and for that I’m infinitely thankful. (It’s also lovely to perform on stage, which my friends in the slam poetry community are quite well aware of).


As someone who has just published a collection of poems that focuses partially on the queer experience, what advice can you give to other younger queer writers?
I spent a considerable amount of time limiting myself regarding the narratives and experiences that I felt I was ‘allowed’ to draw from for my art. I felt guilty writing about events such as pulse, or the suicide of a romantic partner, or other narratives with which I lack the tangible, direct experience that those who do not understand poetic license believe are ‘necessary’ to have in order to make art about these subject matters. But writing Gravity, as well as simply growing older, have both taught me that experiences and emotions overlap; rather than boxing particular experiences and emotions into ‘categories’ of availability, the emotions an individual experiences from, say, a particularly traumatic breakup, often parallel and even correspond with the profound sense of grief that another experiences from the death of their partner. As someone with borderline personality disorder, romantic abandonment feels like death — death of another, death of identity, death of self — and so I write about death as a way of expressing the true gravity (no pun intended) of what this feels like in my own subjective mind. Similarly, anti-queer hate crimes reverberate throughout the entire community, including to those among us who thankfully do not maintain any specific memories of anti-queer oppression levied against themselves. I would suggest that young queer writers — and, in a sense, all writers — experiment with the subjects and narratives that they write about, and try to limit the guilt that they might feel for doing so. You’d be surprised with what you can learn, both about others and about yourself, in writing about that which you don’t directly ‘understand’.


Is there anything you would've liked to know before starting this collection?
That I would visit my childhood home for Christmas 2022, long after having submitted my final manuscript for this book, and feel nothing except that I had left it, and I would leave it again.


ARI LOHR
*(any pronouns, get creative with it) *
is a queer poet and English Education major at Boston University. Xe is a Brave New Voices semifinalist, Slamlandia finalist, Portland Poetry Slam champion, and a 2021 Best of the Net nominee. Focusing on the mystical intersections between power, sexuality, and identity, Ari’s poetry appears in the Northern Otter Press, Opia Lit, and more. They are the author of EJAY., a confessional love letter / poetry chapbook, and Gravity, their debut full-length with Gutslut Press. They are also the managing editor of the Bitter Fruit Review and the editor-in-chief of the Jupiter Review. Xe believes truth is malleable, professionalism is violence, and arrogance is sexy. Ari can be found at arilohr.com, or @arilohr on twitter and instagram.


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