Friday, May 13, 2011

Six Questions for Stevie Edwards, Editor-in-Chief, Muzzle

Muzzle publishes poetry, art, interviews, book reviews, and performance reviews. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

SE: I started Muzzle for three main reasons: 1) I was a Writer-in-Residence with a wonderful organization in Chicago called Vox Ferus (run by Marty McConnell), and I was charged with the responsibility of starting a project that would benefit my community of writers. I should probably note that many of the writers in Chicago who are dearest to me are slam poets, and I wanted to create a magazine where "slam poets" and more "academic poets" (whatever that means) could discourse with one another. 2) I attended a workshop on getting published in literary journals that was largely populated by slam poets, and I was a little disquieted by discussions about slam poets being underrepresented in the publishing world--some even suggested removing slam credentials from bios and cover letters because editors wouldn't take the submissions seriously. 3) I wanted to create a magazine full of the kind of work I am moved by and enjoy reading.

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

SE: When looking at a new poem, I look for specificity of images, emotional weight, and magic.

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

SE: The top three reasons we reject poems are probably: general sloppiness (not following submission guidelines, lots of blatant typos); leaning heavily on cliches (the velvet sky, the twinkling stars, my bleeding heart. . .); and clunkiness of language/a lack of grace.

SQF: When reading a poem, how do you know it was written by a novice author?

SE: I take issue with presuming I have the authority to "know" anybody is "a novice author." I am a reader of poetry with my own specific likes and dislikes.

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

SE: Yes, I am fine with publishing poems that are posted on personal blogs. I am also fine with poems that have been published in chapbooks. I will not publish poems previously published in other magazines.

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

SE: I wish you'd have asked: "What are some of your favorite books of poetry that have come out in the last year or so?" I would have answered: Lighthead by Terrance Hayes, Open Interval by Lyrae Van-Clief Stefanon, and Ideal Cities by Erika Meitner. I'm also really looking forward to reading The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands by Nick Flynn and Quantum Lyrics by A. Van Jordan.

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

NEXT POST: 5/16--Six Questions for Katie Moore, General Editor, The Legendary

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