SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Shinjini Bhattacharjee: As a student of literature, I have always wanted to stay in touch with good writing of all kinds, unbiased by its inclusion or exclusion from the present literary scenario aesthetically colonized by social canon. Hence, starting a literary journal was the only appropriate decision to take. Another intention was to create a journal without any excessive technological dilution. That is why the journal’s design has been kept to a minimum without any unnecessary cluttered complexity. I want the focus of the journal to be only on poetry and prose.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
SB: The journal primarily desires writings that do not embody, to alter a famous statement, “writing for writing’s sake.” I look for works where the authors actually feel what they write, and not because they have to, merely to see their names in literary journals. I strongly believe that this is the most important characteristic defining a good piece of literature. It is extremely easy to recognize a detached poem or a fiction in which the words fail to communicate the emotions which binds them to their writers. I want literature where the authors live their compositions. Asking the words to carry impressions of compelling imagery and powerful language is another criterion. Literature is not a fictional diary carrying banal descriptions. It is meant to interpret incidents and emotions in a new light. It is also important to understand that literature always presupposes an audience, which, in a sense, also rewrites the text through its own interpretations. Writers and readers both play important roles in creating a successful literary artifact. So, I do not appreciate solipsistic musings which do not open an interaction with the readers.
SQF: Your guidelines state the inspirations for prose are Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Margaret Atwood. Can you be a little more specific as to what it is about their writing that attracts you?
SB: I feel that Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Margaret Atwood constitute the literary triumvirates. Every word they write is an epiphany, and they also know exactly how to narrate emotions in a good story. I am also in awe of the imagery, subtle yet profound, which they have incorporated in their works, and their distinct experimental style and tone. I also appreciate the way they have managed to passionately connect to the words they have used in their literary outpourings. I admire their narrative style as well—semantically disjointed but uniting the human emotions in a more satisfying manner.
SQF: "We want poems where words contemplate the interpretations of instincts and deeper strokes of human dilemma.” Can you name a poem or two that exemplify this statement?
SB: I believe Sylvia Plath’s ‘Gigolo’ and Anne Waldman’s ‘Attenuate the Loss and Find’ suitably exemplify it.
SQF: Hemingway is famous for his six word story. What six words would you use to describe Hermeneutic Chaos?
SB: Telling Art What It Can Do
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
SB: How do I see HCLJ a few years down the line?
Although it has been launched quite recently, I have huge plans for Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. One of the projects in the pipelines is to establish a direct contact between the writers and the readers, something which most of the online journals do not attempt. A good piece of literature, as I mentioned earlier, has to involve a communication between the writer and the reader. I also intend to publish chapbooks in the future, if time permits. I do not know how long will it take for these ideas to assume shape, but for now, I am happy offering good writing a hospitable home.
Thank you, Shinjini. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 5/20--Six Questions for Christopher T Garry, Founder/Managing Editor, Black Denim Lit