New quarantine-inspired literary magazine aims to find expression in isolation

The Quarantine Magazine will showcase new and experimental poetry, art, and hybrid works.



Roxanna Barbulescu, Arts Reporter

Poetry, art, and works that “break boundaries” — all of these types of art and more will be found in the first publication of The Quarantine Magazine, a new literary magazine that is in the process of being published by three University of Iowa English students.

The idea for a magazine that could break down feelings of confinement that come with the idea of “quarantine” came from Rebekah Hallman, Emily Engwall, and Emma Scintu. All three are English majors who bonded in their publishing class last semester, where they fell in love with the process of putting together a published work, according to Hallman.

“This semester, we wanted it back,” Hallman said. “We missed the community and just how exciting it is to design something with other people.”

According to Engwall, a third year student majoring in communications and English, the actual process of creating The Quarantine Magazine didn’t start until online classes had begun.

“We [virtually] got together during quarantine and thought it would be a really cool time to start a magazine,” Engwall said. “We thought it would be a cool space for people to share their work while they’re stuck inside.”

The trio held multiple Zoom meetings to discuss the details of their magazine, eventually deciding that they wanted it to be an online-only publication for the time being, Engwall said.

The magazine aims to break stereotypes and create beyond genres that already exist, Engwall said. The trio wanted it to be a place for people to share their work and communicate on a larger scale while staying indoors. The magazine will publish works of poetry and visual art.

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The magazine will also publish short hybrid work in order to convey the magazine’s overall message of moving past boundaries, confinement, and other feelings of isolation that come with staying indoors for long periods of time, according to Sinctu, a third year student studying mass communications, English, and creative writing. The group plans for the first edition to go live by mid-June.

“We really want our magazine to feel like a safe space for people to take their risks,” Hallman said. “We’re looking for pieces that aren’t afraid to be out there.”

Sinctu said the process of making a magazine has meant adjusting to a new learning curve. Not only did the trio have to learn new technology and software used for building a website, she said, but the process has been very different than the one they had experienced before in their publishing classes.

“In our publishing class we have a much larger team, about 18 to 20 people,” Sinctu said. “So having a smaller team lets us get things done faster, but at the same time there’s more work.”

Despite the challenges, Sinctu said learning to create the magazine has been very fulfilling, especially since the trio has been able to learn more about the publishing industry in the process.

“We’re really excited to publish this work, but also to gain experience while doing it.” Engwall said.

While making the magazine, the creators have also been keeping their potential readers in mind as well, Hallman said.

“We’re hoping that the readers are entertained and inspired by the work,” Hallman said. “That it helps them to create more art.”

Submissions for The Quarantine Magazine close on May 24. Submission details can be found on the magazine’s website.

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