Yellow Chair Review publishes poetry, flash fiction, non-fiction and art. Learn more here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Sarah Frances Moran: Sooo haven't told many people this, but in high school, at the dawn of the internet. I decided to put together a little email based zine. It was called Dreams. It was oh so cheesy, and I loved it. I basically took submissions of any type of writing and placed them in an email newsletter that went out to those who had subscribed. I've had a desire ever since to do that again. I began seriously sending out my own work about 8 months ago and have encountered things I wanted to see done better. I wanted YCR to be a place that's approachable, that responds quickly and does whatever it can to promote the work of its contributors.
I don't have an art degree, literature degree or any type of liberal arts degree. I just appreciate words, and I feel strongly that it's important to hold space for people to get their art into the world. I'd like to think that Yellow Chair Review represents a wide variety of artists, writers, poets. I don't ever want to say that YCR is exclusive to any type of people, but I do want it to be a space that's welcoming and open to under-represented communities.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
SFM: I don't really have a criteria. I just simply want to be moved. I want my brain provoked or my emotions punched. A lot of editors list things they want and things they don't want, but I think it's hard to put yourself in a box however large that box is. If I say I dislike rhyming poems, and then one comes through that's amazing, how do I know I haven't programmed my brain to dislike it? I want to be open. Most I love words. I love when words are used like weapons to convey the complexities of our lives. Move me.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
SFM: Bad grammar and spelling. A small mistake here and there is no big deal, but when the submission is riddled with mistakes it becomes a huge turn off.
Long wordy cover letters that attempt to explain the work. The work should explain itself. If it needs an explanation it's failing somewhere.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
SFM: Sometimes, especially if it's requested. Those form rejections are tough, but unfortunately there isn't enough time for personal rejection responses for everyone. I try to convey in those rejections that it's just a matter of not fitting for YCR. I don't want to be a discouragement to anyone and hope that those whose work I pass on realize that's the opinion of one person. Keep sending work out.
SQF: What is the “Rock the Chair Weekly Poetry Challenge"?
SFM: It's really just a simple weekly challenge. The best poem of those sent for that week are published on YCR's Rock The Chair blog. At the end of the year a print anthology of those poems will be put together and released in a perfect bound edition. Eventually the plan is to have themed weeks and even guest editors choose the winning poem for certain weeks.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
SFM: What does Yellow Chair Review see for its future?
World domination ;)
Thank you, Sarah. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.