Monday, April 18, 2011

Six Questions for Laura E. Davis, Founding & Poetry Editor, Weave Magazine

"Weave is a literary organization and print publication located in Pittsburgh, PA. We seek to create a space for a cross-section of writers and artists to meet on the page, on the stage, and in workshop. We celebrate diversity in both the creator and their works and strive to showcase both novice and established writers and artists." Weave publishes poetry of any length, fiction and creative non-fiction of 3,000 words or less (query first if longer), flash fiction to 1,500 words, short plays not to exceed 4,000 words, and visual art. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

LD: Three years ago, we wanted to start some kind of publishing project. We didn't know what shape it would take at first, but after some initial brainstorming, Weave came more into focus. Primarily, we considered ourselves a feminist journal. That means at least half of each issues contributors are female-identified. We then branched outward to include as many voices as possible: LGBT writers, people of color, young and young at heart, rural to urban writers, and so on. I actually wrote a blog post on this very subject recently that talks about our mission and goals for diversity and community.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story/poem and why?

LD: As a poet and the Poetry Editor, I look for a variety of things in poetry, but mostly I want to be surprised. I want that first line to really grab me, pull me in, with a visual, musical language, or a well placed metaphor. I like image-rich poems, often magical or fantastical poems that avoid cliches. I like a poem with thoughtful structure, whether it be a well-executed line break in a free-verse poem or a haunting villanelle or sestina. I want to taste these poems.

With fiction I first look for dynamic characters, especially women. A lot of fiction we accept has complex female characters. These characters often end up being middle-aged or older, but that's just coincidental. I look for something I haven't seen before, or something I have seen but in a new way. I love magical stories or mythical retellings. But we also love realistic narratives that show character growth and complex relationships. After that, I want to be wowed with language, images, dialogue and structure, just as it is with poetry.

In nonfiction we want to see that balance of narrative and reflection. I want poetry in the essays we accept, but also humor.

SQF: What are the top three reasons a story/poem is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?

LD: We often get work that is clearly not ready for publication. By that I mean, grammatical errors or sloppy structure. With fiction, it's almost always the ending. Very often we will be reading a story and it's very compelling but the end just doesn't work. It either feels like a copout or is too vague or ends with a cliche. For poems, we want to be wowed by the language, the music, the story. Knock our socks off.

SQF: What is it about the characters in a poem/story that makes them pop off the page and grab hold of you?

LD: Something magical. Something real. Something flawed.

SQF: Will you publish a story/poem an author posted on a personal blog?

LD: No.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

LD: Does your publication hold events to celebrate each issue? Why yes, we do! For each issue we have a reading that features local and regional contributors in Pittsburgh. We also have plans to start a reading in the San Francisco area and a regular reading at AWP.

Thank you, Laura. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 4/20-Six Questions for Darby Larson, Editor, Abjective

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