“…I like to be bewildered by writing…”

Dominic Caruso Launches “Is This Up,” A New Literary Journal

by Noor Hindi


In high school, Dominic Caruso was the weird kid who carried a copy of “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller with him everywhere he went. Looking back today, he admits he’s always had a special connection with books. He loves reading fiction that makes him scratch his head and that riffs off uncertainty.

The stranger, the more grotesque and the more surreal, the better.

“I’m attracted to short stories because they are such a versatile means of expression and exploration. They’re like rock and roll. You can do anything with them.”

Dominic loves reading so much that he just launched a new literary journal, called “Is This Up.” The journal will publish short fiction and prose poems. The name is inspired by the design of the journal, which can be read frontward or backward. It also speaks to Dominic’s aesthetics as an editor, and the unusual style he looks for when curating the pieces within the journal.

“I like to be bewildered by writing. When I finish something, if I have the feeling of ‘what did I just read?’ that’s something I really love,’” he says. “I’m not really drawn to certainty and knowing exactly what a piece is about.”

Aside from his interest in writing and reading, Dominic is a graphic designer who sees well-designed books as pieces of art. He works at Akron Art Museum as a marketing manager, which he enjoys because it inspires his book designs and writing.

“I think ideas stimulate more ideas, and art, like nothing else, is driven by ideas.”

Dominic will be publishing “Is This Up” as a print journal through his press, 1701 Press. The Press has been around for about 10 years and has published pop culture nonfiction books.

“Is This Up” will feature two authors back to back each month. Currently, the journal is spotlighting authors Laura Aciniega and Ben Slotky for the month of April. Both authors work with qualities of surrealism.

“I think one of the most crucial, most useful functions of art is that it is a place where we can imagine new ways of living together,” he says. “Fiction can give us the means to do what seems impossible.”

“Is This Up” is currently open for submissions at 1701press.submittable.com Dominic will be publishing work from within Northeast Ohio and outside of the region. You can subscribe to the journal by visiting 1701press.com.  

(All photos courtesy of Dominic Caruso) 


//BIO: Noor Hindi is cur­rently pur­su­ing her MFA in po­etry at The Uni­ver­sity of Akron. Check her out at noorhindi.com.