Portal 2015


The Gustafson reading by Katherena Vermette is October 22nd from 2:30-4 in the 355 lounge.
We will be selling some baked goods with all proceeds going towards our 2015 issue!Check Out the Gustafson Poetry Series

Thursday October 2nd, 2014

2015 CONTEST – $50 CASH PRIZE This year’s contest invites both written and visual works inspired by First Nations culture. Suggested themes include unity and diversity, empowerment, and tradtion and modernity. We encourage exploration of difficult topics, but please remember to be respectful. DEADLINE: NOV 28TH AT MIDNIGHT. Send to: viuportal@gmail.com

For More information find us on:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/portalmag
Twitter – www.twitter.com/PortalMagazine
Instagram – @PortalMagVIU


VIU’s Portal Magazine Launches 2014 Issue April 10 in Nanaimo

Portal 2014, Vancouver Island University’s full-colour annual literary magazine, will be launched on Thursday April 10th at the Nanaimo Curling Club at 106 Wall St. Doors open at 6:30 pm with the event starting at 7 pm. The free semi-formal public event will be catered, and will include live music by the John Lee Trio and readings by 16 of its contributors as well as award-winning Canadian author Ross King. King has penned 2 historical novels, Domino (1995) and Ex-Libris (1998), and 6 books on Italian, French and Canadian art and history including The Judgment of Paris (2006) and Leonardo and the Last Supper (2012), both of which won Governor General’s Awards. Brunelleschi’s Dome (2000), was on The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller lists.

Portal 2014 celebrates the talent and diversity of VIU students by publishing the best works of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, scripts, as well as pieces of artwork and photography. Within its 90 pages, Jessica Key conducts an enlightening interview with celebrated Canadian author and poet Michael Crummey, 2013’s Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Chair, best known for his novels River Thieves and Galore. Crummey’s lecture “Burn Barrel: Surviving Poetry in the 21st century” will be published as a chapbook in the Gustafson series this summer.

This year’s collage contest featured original artwork or photography and prose, assembling cut text and images to form an entirely new piece. The winner of the 2014 contest is Coby McDougall for her piece entitled “Expand. Special features include Philip Gordon teaching us “How to Write a Poem for a Girl You Like,” Trevor Cooper detecting a “Murder in the Hundred Acre Wood,” and Samantha Ainsworth waving “Amber” flags. Nearly two dozen pieces comprise this stellar issue.

“Many of the works conveyed a sense of dreamlike wonderment, yet several were also dark and otherworldly. Why so moody? Our tagline, ‘Words to transport you,’ certainly is appropriate for this pensive issue. Are these feelings of uncertainty introspective reflections common to student writers, or an exploratory look into greater truths of the world beyond?” asks Heather Gregory, Portal’s Managing Editor. Pick up a copy to find out…

Since 1991, Portal has been put together by a dedicated class of 20 VIU Creative Writing students who have a hand in all aspects of creating the magazine. From September to April they select the writing and art, make design decisions, develop an online presence, fundraise nearly $8000 on their own, work one-on-one with contributors on the editorial process, sell ads, and plan its launch. The class works with a third-year photographic design class and professor Ellen McCluskey to mock up over 75 cover ideas, from which one is chosen. This year Reese Patterson designed the cover and returning star Jessica Reid perfected the interior. At the launch, awards will also be presented to 11 outstanding Creative Writing students from across genres.

Portal 2014 will be available for purchase across newsstands in Canada in April for $10. Copies will also be available for purchase at the launch, or $15 if bundled with the 2013 issue, and at Literacy Central Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Art Gallery and the VIU bookstore. Portal will continue to be offered as an e-zine on Amazon.

More information on this year’s issue and launch and from backissues of Portal can be found:


instagram: @PortalMagVIU

To arrange interviews with contributors or staff or to cover the launch contact:
Natalie Golbeck, Publicity viuportal@gmail.com
Joy Gugeler, Publisher (250) 797-2623

Thursday April 10th, 2014

LAUNCH: April 10th, 2014 at the Nanaimo Curling Club. 106 Wall St. Nanaimo. Dress is semi formal. Doors at 6.30pm and the event starts at 7pm.

Thursday March 6th, 2014

 Portal Magazine is hosting its very own “Bachelor Pad Auction” in the Students’ Union Pub on the Nanaimo Campus of VIU.

Minimum bid for our lovely bachelors and bachelorettes is $10, with all proceeds going to the production of this years Portal Magazine.

Bachelors and Bachelorettes TBA

Thursday February 13th, 2014

Valentine’s Day BAKE SALE will be held in the lobby of Bld 345 on the Nanaimo Campus from 10am-2pm.

Friday January 17th, 2014

Portal Magazine is hosting the 75th Capitol Ball at Spice Lounge in Nanaimo. Tickets are $5 and are available from any member of the Portal team as well as the Student Union Bld. Doors open at 9.30pm. There will be a prize for best costume.

Thursday November 28th, 2013

Beer and Burger Night at the Corner Bistro in Nanaimo. 6pm-9pm with a Silent Auction. Tickets are $16 and available from any member of the Portal team.


Thursday October 10th, 2013

BAKE SALE in the lobby of building 345 on the Nanaimo Campus. Portal Students will be selling home made baked goods from 11-2.


The 2014 Portal Team has been assembled and are already hard at work! Follow us on:

Twitter: @PortalMagazine

Instagram: @Portalmagviu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/portalmag

and watch this space to keep up to date on everything Portal has to offer.

Portal Whirlwind

What a whirlwind! The whole Portal team is hard at work getting the 2015 issue off the ground, but before we even start looking at submissions, we have to ensure there will be enough cash to get the magazine printed. To that end we’ve created a schedule of fundraising events, including a Beer-and Burger-Night and a Silent Auction.
We also had a reading event last month at the new branch of the VIRL. The reading was a huge success with over 50 in attendance, and we hope that our upcoming events will be equally popular. Everyone is doing their part to make sure things go smoothly and handling their tasks with grace.
Portal 2014 set the bar extremely high, but the 2015 team is bursting with ideas and talent. Rather than be intimidated by the praise that is heaped upon Portal 2014, they have taken it as a challenge and work is underway to put out the best issue of Portal yet.
As the year rolls on and events and deadlines pass, don’t forget to take a moment to pen that story, poem, script, or work of art that’s been rattling around in your head, then ship it off to Portal. Or, if you’re even more strapped for time than we are, dig up a golden oldie and send it off.
Being able to put “published” on your resume is a great way to get the attention of potential employers, so while buckling down for midterms, look up a moment and remember that Nov 28th is our deadline for submissions and we want to see your name in print.

-Daniel O’Brien

Life Inspires Art: Governor General’s Winner Katherena Vermette Comes to VIU for the 2014 Gustafson Lecture

For the past 20+ years, Portal has included a feature, profiling the distinguished Gustafson Chair of Poetry, a lecture series aimed at supporting and advancing Canadian poetry. As a student and aspiring writer, the opportunity to meet with a contemporary poet who has made such an impact on our literary scene is both inspiring and motivational.

I have been looking forward to this week all semester. I will be interviewing Katherena Vermette , a talented Métis poet from Winnipeg whose first book, North End Love Songs, won the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. Our interview will be found in the pages of Portal 2015.

And you can meet her too! Vermette will be giving the 2014 Gustafson Lecture on Thursday, October 23rd at 7:30 in Bldg 355’s auditorium, with a special student-only presentation on Wednesday, October 22nd. 2:30-4pm in the lounge of the same building. We’d love to see you there!

I sat down with her book a few weeks ago and I couldn’t put it down! Her language is both sparse and evocative. She writes of her personal experience growing up in the infamous north end of Winnipeg, and though I grew up across the country from her, in small-town British Columbia, her words resonate with me on a deep level. She writes of searing loss, of finding strength in the roots of family, of leaving home, and of coming back with a new appreciation for the landscape she grew up in.

Katherena Vermette was interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi, when he was in Winnipeg for the Junos last year. In this interview, she talks about there being a hunger for Aboriginal writing in Canada. It was interesting to hear her say this as it was a subject we discussed in one of our earliest Portal classes. We all agreed on the need for empowering stories from First Nations across the country so we unanimously voted to highlight this in our 2015 issue.

My fellow Non-Fiction Editor and Feature Writer, Francine McCabe, will be interviewing Richard Wagamese, who visited VIU in early 2014 as the university’s first Indigenous Writer in Residence. In addition to these feature articles, our annual contest focuses on written and visual works inspired by First Nations culture. And that’s where you come in…

I’d like to encourage all VIU students to email  viuportal@gmail.com with your contest entry; the winner receives $50. This is an all-inclusive contest and you do not need to be First Nations to enter. We are surrounded by the influences of First Nations culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the people attending Vermette’s lecture this week leave inspired to submit.  The opportunity to connect with one another through our work is why we publish the artists in Portal year after year.

Jennifer Cox

Non-Fiction Editor, Publicity & Feature Writer

Portal 2015

Directing Art

In understanding my role as Art Director for this year’s Portal magazine, you and I are going to have to agree upon what art is. Let this post serve as a meeting of minds, a place where you and I observe the answer to that question.
We are observers, not trailblazers. Art is old and mean. Certainly, Damien Hirst put a shark in formaldehyde and called it art, so who are we to act as arbiters? How do you direct something so tenuous, something so divine, without falling prey to self-doubt, the fear of myopia? What is art?
I’ve had meetings with colleagues and our designer, Reese Patterson to consider the aesthetics of Portal and how to give it its own subtle identity. The magazine itself is a vessel for individual experiences, but that’s allowable– what you’ll have in your hand at the end of the process will be just as much art as the bits and pieces that form it.
Art is illicit, an idea or emotion, and Portal magazine is both. Is the art the shark or the container it finds itself in? It doesn’t really matter; it’s all art.

-Lucas Baird

A word from one of our Editors

Now in my fourth year as a Creative Writing student, it seemed only natural to join the Portal team. As both a writer and reader of fiction, I was eager to choose a position that would both benefit the magazine and also put my editing skills to good use. Unfortunately, being one of the fiction editors means waiting for the deadline before the real work starts. Until then, I go to class and learn the other fundamentals in publishing a magazine, such as budgeting.
Portal class starts with updates and group check-ins. While my duties as Launch Coordinator and Fiction Editor are on hold until next semester, the work we do as a team means I’m still kept busy with ads, and selling past-issues and baking to raise money.
When I first signed up for the class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I pictured a colourful room, with past cover photos framed on the walls and comfy beanbag chairs strewn on the floor. I imagined everyone rushing around on a coffee buzz, In fact, building 345, Room 103 is not a very posh workspace, but the dreary walls of the classroom don’t stifle our passion for Portal (or diminish our need for coffee).
On the very first day of class, the eagerness of my fellow classmates was palpable. We worked hard to produce a feasible budget, come up with unique fundraising opportunities, and establish our roles for the magazine. Even after we left the classroom, our work didn’t end as we discussed contest themes and advertising options on D2L.
Now, with midterms coming to an end, Portal students are going to be even busier with fundraising, from our club night on October 17th to the Gustafson poetry lecture student event on the 23rd.
The end of midterms also means we’re closer to reaching our submissions deadline (November 28th). If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get your writing and artwork in for Portal 2015!

-Hannah Smith