For Immediate Release: New literary journal, I Come From The World, begins global conversation and awards its first literary prize
Guilford, CT, July 19, 2017: I Come From The World, a new web magazine and companion literary journal that seek to connect people around the world through truth- and story-telling, launches its inaugural literary issue today. Its first-ever $500 literature prize was awarded to Vyasar Mamta Ganesan, whose nonfiction essay explores the many namesakes that compose his initials and South Indian heritage.
“What I wrote and submitted to I Come From the World is as much me as I can put on the page without writing in blood,” said Ganesan, an MFA graduate of Columbia University. “For someone to read it means that they are engaging not only with my history, but with a segment of Indian-American heritage as well.”
The first issue of the literary journal at icomefromtheworld.org features contributions by 25 emerging and established writers, in addition to work by featured photographer Christopher Woods and renowned poet Baron Wormser, author/co-author of 14 books and a fellowship recipient from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The contest resulted in publishing themes from birth to death as well as the pursuit of self-identity. Guest judges Kim Bridgford (poetry) and Pete Duval (prose) selected the winning essay.
Founding editor Lisa Calderone’s husband Frank Perrelli, Jr. coined the title while the couple traveled over the Q Bridge in New Haven in 2011. At the time the talk of the town on local news radio was about the disparaging remarks East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. made about his Latino constituents. Perrelli questioned why it mattered where anyone came from, exclaiming, “I come from the world, that’s where I come from!”
The memorable phrase held its own immediately. “For five years I held on to the domain name ‘icomefromtheworld.com’ with high hopes but ambiguous intentions. After the 2016 election, the concept gained new clarity,” said Calderone, who moved to Connecticut 20 years ago when her first book about work-at-home parenthood was just hitting the publicity circuit.
Ganesan submitted his winning essay “VMG” to I Come From The World not expecting to be published but “hoping to be read.” Duval recognized an original voice in his first read of the essay. “I admire how ‘VMG’ enacts what might be called an ‘archeology of identity’ through an examination of the intersection of etymology, family history and cultural context.”
What compels Ganesan to write in his unique style is exactly aligned with the mission of the journal. “I think it’s important to recognize hybrid storylines in our world,” Ganesan said. “We’re very accustomed to the exoticization and otherizing texts because for many of us, that’s all that was available to read about the world in our formative years. What we’re not used to are stories that bring the other to our door, stories that are evidence of a very different kind of person in our world.”
Under the guidance of faculty mentor Kim Bridgford, Calderone also launched Mason’s Road, the first literary journal of Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program as her third semester project in 2010.
“I was thrilled with our one-on-one publishing experience because Lisa brought her skills as an editor, web designer, and visionary to the process,” said Bridgford, director of Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference and editor of Mezzo Cammin, a web journal devoted to formal poetry by women. “Now, with her new journal, she is literally taking on the world.”
I Come From the World turned into a passion project for the couple after Calderone struggled with melanoma that had spread to her brain in the summer of 2016, followed by the election results that fall. While her cancer diagnosis came years after she secured the domains, the phrase “I come from the world” grew in connotation. She recognized that between Jimmy Carter (a democrat) and John McCain (a republican), melanoma is a bipartisan issue, and believed a publication entitled I Come From The World could help start moving the conversation above the fray.
Added Wormser, the journal’s first guest contributor, “To say the world currently needs a publication the likes of I Come From The World is an understatement.”
The next contest and call for submissions is scheduled for September 15, 2017, with contest judges Eric Lehman (prose) and Amy Nawrocki (poetry), both creative writing faculty at the University of Bridgeport where Calderone currently works in the communications office. While literary journal submissions are currently closed, the web magazine at icomefromtheworld.com aimed at building community and conversation is open to ongoing content submissions, with a $2 reading fee for essays only.
About the Publications
I Come From The World produces sister publications with identical titles and missions but separate publishing schedules. The web magazine (.com) is open to ongoing submissions year-round of varied content that are grounded in daily life, with a particular emphasis on photos and essays in all its forms. The literary journal (.org) publishes theme-based issues twice a year that include art, poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction, and which dig deeper into our individual and collective truths.
About the Producers
I Come From The World is edited by Lisa Calderone-Perrelli and co-produced with her husband Frank Perrelli, Jr. In addition to Mason’s Road, a collaborative among rotating editorial teams that ran from 2010-2015, Lisa Calderone’s previous passion projects have included her first book, How to Raise a Family and a Career Under One Roof (Bookhaven Press, 1997), and The Entrepreneurial Parent, both the book (Tarcher 2002, co-authored by Paul and Sarah Edwards) and website of the same title that ran from 1998-2002. While researching and writing The Entrepreneurial Parent helped quell her grief after losing her father to cancer in 1998, it was working on another literary journal not another book project that consumed her thoughts as she grappled with her own legacy last summer. This date, July 19, marks the one-year anniversary of her second of back-to-back craniotomies in June and July of 2016; she will be cancer free a year this August. Recalling when his own life was touched by a white light 23 years ago, Frank Perrelli held steadfast in his belief that his wife would be on “the positive side of the road,” understanding from personal experience that “in darkness a single light shines.”