I first stumbled across ArtAscent in Autumn 2019. I was alerted to the journal’s call for submissions from one of the many “heads-up” newsletters for poets I subscribe to. I pawed through older issues of ArtAscent and was gob-smacked by the impeccable quality of the art and writing in its pages—the most sumptuous pages of any journal I can recall ever seeing except perhaps one other.
Is ArtAscent prestigious or what? I remember thinking as I held the issue in my hands, feeling the heavy glossy paper stock in my hands and seeing the superlative reproduction quality of the work presented—every page just screamed respect for the artists represented.
And so the journey together began with the acceptance of a poem the first time out of the gate, “How to Dress for Success.” I was IN! And since then, I have not missed sending a submission to a single issue—offering poems in fifteen submissions, with only one rejection so far.
And among my successes—ta-da!—the honour of being selected as the Connection issue Gold Writer for my diptych (two paired poems).
Am I a happy poet of what? Thrilled is more like it.
No editorial team comes close to ArtAscent for its faith in my writing. I felt welcomed into the fold. With the greatest of respect as a practitioner of the poetic craft, not just on a Canadian stage, but on the world stage! Wowsa!
By happenstance, my sense of belonging to the ArtAscent fold is deepened because I’m an abject Canadaphile, having travelled throughout the country, writing what became two books about that sprawling country, Godwit: Poems of Canada and Bunchberries: More Poems of Canada, both from FootHills Publishing (US).
I’ve tried my best to return that respect. I was punctilious about acknowledging ArtAscent’s support for my poetry in my newest collection, the full-length My Body the Guitar, released in December 2021 by U.S. publisher Before Your Quiet Eyes Holograph Series (see https://karlalinnmerrifield.org/books/my-body-the-guitar/). Two of the poems in the book first appeared in ArtAscent; I gave due credit where credit was due.
Here’s one of those poems:
Étude 7-9: Solo
Playing in the sandbox of imagination
is a zero-risk activity.
I am free to tell you I am
an emphatic woman
of exclamation-pointed lyrics,
of fortissimo flamenco submission,
strong, stronger, strongest stresses—
and here I am sans guitar
and without words for what happened
to spontaneity, jammin’, meldin’,
like a naturally hard-strummed woman
at the coda: you were the man on my mind.
Tonight, metaphors aside:
I am my body, this only body.
I meant it when I said—this book wouldn’t have been possible without all the good people at ArtAscent. The respect for and affirmation of my poetry, along with the international showcase the magazine provides for all of us in its pages, are rare and precious. Thank you, ArtAscent, most humbly.
By Karla Linn Merrifield
ArtAscent Art & Literature “Connection” Issue (October 2021) Gold Writer