Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Six Questions for Arjun Choudhuri, General Editor, The Four Quarters Magazine

The Four Quarters Magazine publishes literary prose, poetry (visual and written), essays, artwork, book reviews and more. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Arjun Choudhuri: Because I felt it was necessary. And as time goes by, I find that the necessity that had evoked this attempt on our part has now grown into a compulsion. I simply can’t imagine a world where there is no TFQM. 

SQF: In general, what do you look for in a submission and why?

AC: Language. Good language. Goosebump birthing, clever, precise language. That is primary, and then there is the knot of ideas and expression embedded in the text. Also, since all our issues are thematic, we also look for submissions that somehow fit, and fit near-perfectly, in the scheme we have designed for the issue at hand. This makes it very difficult, of course, to sort through so many subs every quarter. But we follow this pattern with necessary intent.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

AC: Bad grammar. And an even worse cover letter. And, of course, badly formatted word files.

SQF: How would you describe the perfect story/poem/essay (assuming there is such a thing)?

AC: There is no such thing, of course. But then, that is what I believe.

SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

AC: Writing requires a lot of reading. One must essentially read at least ten times more than one aims to write. Mere control over language means nothing, or even the 'writer-ly' impulse that people feel has taken over their senses, and thoughts. Also, when I say reading, I do not only mean the reading of a book, or many books, which is essential, of course. I also mean 'reading' as in the perceiving and reacting of the surrounding texts of one's immediate or ancillary cultures by the individual. But that is a very obvious thing to say, I realise. But, then again, this is what I have learnt over the years as a student of literary studies. My work as the editor of the magazine has only served to teach me the immense truth behind this.  

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

AC: I wish you'd have asked about what we plan to do in the future with the magazine. But you didn't. So I will leave it aside, and answer it when you ask me that. Maybe sometime soon? 

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

NEXT POST: 4/11--Six Questions for David Gray and Mary Gearhart-Gray, Editors, 4 Star Stories

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