UH Maui offers many opportunities for students to gain leverage. I recently gained the opportunity to become editor of Nā Leo Literary Review. Each month, students are encouraged to submit creative works of their choosing for a chance to win a $50-$100 prize and a publication on the official website. As the new editor, I knew I was really going to need some pointers about the ins and outs of Nā Leo Literary Review. Luckily, help wasn’t hard to find. I got to chat with previous editor and UH Maui Graduate Anela Brittain, who officially handed me the torch complete with a list of duties, tips, and an excellently organized google drive. Read on to learn more about Nā Leo Literary Review.
Anela is a non-binary Native Hawaiian student who graduated from Kamehameha Schools Maui. They’re also an amateur bowler with 8 years experience under their belt. Anela completed their Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts while at UH Maui and has since transferred schools to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health, as they have a history of overcoming struggles with mental illness. As an art-lover they enjoyed being involved in the process of reviewing submissions. They shared their thought process with me.
“Nā Leo, which means ‘The Voices’ in Hawaiian, promotes an openly creative and inspirational atmosphere for artists, and writers. Students as well as faculty and staff can submit creative works. I think the position of editor of Nā Leo is genuinely fun. People might put their whole heart into a piece, other times it’s a random English assignment. To be able to see all the art that other people create, to see their thoughts and emotions [through their] art is really really cool to me. Personally, being a non-binary queer Native Hawaiian and having mental illness is like a huge part of who I am and definitely has an influence on how I see the world and for sure had an impact on how I ran Nā Leo.” Anela informed me that one of their favorite parts of being a part of the Nā Leo team took place before the pandemic occurred.
“One thing I really liked before the pandemic is we used to hold poetry showcases in the library. Anyone could sign up and share their pieces out loud through a microphone all slam poetry style, and it was really cool. It’s one thing to read submissions but to see people perform their own works and put their own voice to it enables you to understand on a much deeper level.” I assured Anela that we hope to resume in-person art showcases again one day. One of Anela’s tips for me was that the goal in reviewing submissions is to look for art that is meaningful and that displays depth and effort. Monthly winners will be featured and published on the official website at Maui.hawaii.edu/Naleo. I agreed that it makes it more meaningful, especially when artists are willing to share the meaning behind their art. I was grateful for Anela’s input which really shed light on how to move forward as the new editor.
Spring semester has only just begun and February submissions are still being encouraged. This month’s theme is “Aloha” or Love in any context. If you are a creative individual in the UHMC Fam, why not try to win some cash doing what you love. You can enter as many pieces as you like whether weekly or monthly. Visit Maui.hawaii.edu/Naleo for more information, and to view past winners and learn about the current literary panel. Share your voice and inspiration with Nā Leo Literary Review.