Friday, April 13, 2018

Six Questions for Chloe N. Clark, Teo Mungaray, and Hannah Cohen, Editors, Cotton Xenomorph

Cotton Xenomorph publishes poetry, flash fiction under 1,000 words, and visual art.
Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Cotton Xenomorph: We all wanted to start a litmag but, for individual reasons, hadn’t gotten around to it. It’s very difficult to start one alone because there’s so much involved. When we found out we all wanted to do it, we banded together to make Cotton Xenomorph. Our mission, besides publishing great work, was to reduce harmful language and practices in the community. We felt that this mission was especially needed in the current political environment.

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

CX: Following the guidelines is an especial delight to us. Because we don’t use Submittable, we rely on proper adherence to help us organize submissions. We also like to see a brief cover letter rather than a bio and a document with no “hello.” Lastly, while we don’t have a set aesthetic, we do NOT want to see anything with language of oppression or the male gaze.

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

CX: Language of oppression. We mention that all the time, and YET we regularly receive submissions that have the potential to harm others. Editor Teo also has an extreme dislike toward ellipses, excessive slashes, all-caps titles, and overly sentimental poems. Editor Chloe has a particular dislike for gory horror or horror that relies on physical violence to do its work and also poems that use abstraction to cover up lack of depth. Editor Hannah dislikes poems that go for style over substance and also poems that rely on shock value just to make a statement.

SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

CX: Poetry, Poem-A-Day, Bellevue Literary Review, Assaracus, Glass, Occulum, Moonchild, Luna Luna, Third Point Press, Flash Fiction Online, Cosmonauts Avenue, Wyvern, Uncanny, Cheap Pop, Smokelong Quarterly, Adroit, Atlanta Review, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Yes Poetry, Kaveh Akbar’s twitter.

SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

CX: Those two are absolutely not welcome in CX. It falls under that male gaze thing we mentioned above. We also really don’t like the violent gaze, which, like the male gaze, relishes in violence toward subjects in the writing. We’ve had to put up a notice in our guidelines that animal harm will result in an instant rejection. Any gratuitous writing is a hard sell, honestly.

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

CX: Where do you go for inspiration for your own writing?

A: Editor Teo has a background in media studies, so he often watches films, tv shows, and music videos. He also goes back to his favorite poetry collections like Carl Phillips’ From the Devotions, and Frank Bidart’s Metaphysical Dog. Editor Hannah has recently started listening to true crime and comedy podcasts to give herself a mental break from reading and writing poetry. She also revisits works by Sylvia Plath, WB Yeats, and Louise Glück. Editor Chloe looks for inspiration in folklore scholarship and science. She also tries to read new work fairly constantly, so as to always hear new voices and ways of telling stories.

Thank you, Chloe, Teo, and Hannah. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

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