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Birth of New Literary Magazine in Santa Cruz is Promising

'Catamaran' brims with terrestrial artwork and evocative literature, from Santa Cruz and around the world.

Those who say "print is dead" have never clutched a carefully designed collection of artwork and writing and felt an electric charge of anticipation.

A sleekness of style, a perfect balance between stunning images and intriguing content—the magazines that do it right never get old or tired, only more valuable with age, more cherished with each read.

Emerging from the old leather factory-turned-artist-mecca, the Tannery Arts Center, the Catamaran Literary Reader is absolutely worthy of the electricity its inaugural issue has sparked in Santa Cruz and beyond.

While it embraces something very Santa Cruz, Catamaran's themes of environmental consciousness, freedom and innovation resonate with a global audience as well.

And that's exactly what founding editor Catherine Segurson intended.

"The east coast has so many magazines, for instance The New Yorker, its contributors are from all over but it sounds like it's coming from the east coast, and I wanted to create something that sounds like it's coming from here," said Segurson.

Segurson, who dreamed up the magazine last year around this time and raised over $10,000 on kickstarter in order to launch it, credits a team of eight editors for the killer line-up.

During the celebration of Catamaran's first issue last Friday at the Tannery, managing editor Elizabeth McKenzie, an award winning Santa Cruz-based author and editor pin pointed it best:

"I had for years a poster over my desk...it was a quote from Ezra Pound that said 'Literature is News that Stays News,'" said McKenzie.  

"And I think that's why we as editors, and you as readers, love a magazine that brings you literature like this," she said.

Indeed, Catamaran asks to be both savored like a gourmet chocolate bar kept in the freezer, and voraciously ripped through in one reeling day. 

Local gems include a non-fiction essay by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols of Davenport, Outré Banks of the Mind, which introduces Nichols' concept of "Blue Mind."

"My hunch, as I stand there on the pier, is that hidden beneath the surface of the water we will find massive, yet to be quantified, but irrefutable cognitive benefits. I believe the ocean irresistibly affects our minds," writes Nichols.

In A Man Apart, local author Stephen Kessler holds Robinson Jeffers up to the light against the other influential poets of his time.

There's also a fascinating interview of T.C. Boyle, by local author Dan White. The interview, which can also be heard online, includes a question about Boyle's proudest literary moment—bringing the reader inside an elephant's head, just as it decides it would like to charge and kill the humans (including you) watching it. 

Santa Cruz is a perfect incubator for Catamaran, and even while the print-cynics will never disappear entirely, there's no question the new quarterly will be cherished on a local level. 

"We have such a rich community of friends of literature, you know, its great to have another outlet where people can be published," said David Sullivan, an English and Film professor at Cabrillo College, and whose poem Rain Chains appears in Catamaran.

"It's always an accomplishment to get a new publication off the ground, and something of this ambition and complexity is really extraordinarily difficult to pull off," said Kessler on Friday night. 

Pick up a copy of the very first issue of Catamaran at Bookshop Santa Cruz or online to see what he means.

Serge Dedina November 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Excellent idea and concept--look forward to reading it down here in San Diego. We need to really celebrate our relationship with the sea in California.
Claudia Sternbach November 09, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Thrilled at this news! As a lover of excellent writing and a believer in print publications I welcome Catamaran to the fold. The idea that print is dead is hogwash! Claudia Sternbach Editor in Chief Memoir memoirjournal.com
Karen Kefauver November 09, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Happy to see our literary talent shining!
Maria Grusauskas November 09, 2012 at 08:39 PM
somebody recently said that to a large audience, that 'print is dead' and i was obviously still seething about it. Online reading is great, like for news and such. ink on paper will live forever

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