Friday, July 11, 2014

Six Questions for Lise Quintana, Editor-in-Chief, & Allie Marini Batts, Managing Editor, NonBinary Review

NonBinary Review is a quarterly interactive literary journal, the official imprint of Zoetic Press, which uses the Lithomobilus platform to join fiction and nonfiction to 5000 words, poetry, and art around each issue's theme. NonBinary Review "wants art and literature that tiptoes the tightrope between now and then. Art that makes us see our literary offerings in new ways." 

(Ceased publication)

SQF: NonBinary Review uses a new platform, Lithomobilus. Please tell us a little about the origins of Lithmobilus and how it relates to NonBinary Review?

Lise Qqintana: I came up with Lithomobilus while checking out a museum exhibit that had touchscreen kiosks that supplemented the artifacts with information about six different things. Each six-item touchscreen had 63 combinations of icons (choosing from 0 to 6 of the icons available). If you multiplied them all together, you get 62.5 BILLION combination possibilities (63 to the 6th power). I thought about how I could do that with narrative. NonBinary Review came out of my desire to show the world what Lithomobilus can do.

SQF: Issues are themed around famous works. For example, the theme of issue 1 is Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and issue two is based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. What will you be looking for in submissions?

Allie Marini Batts: Work where the artist took the work and made it their own—where the beauty of language and precision of craft haven't been sacrificed to fit the theme—where the writer doesn't use the conventions of the fairy tale structure as an excuse to be lazy with their work, or where the writer doesn't choose the easiest route to tell their story. As a reader and an editor, I will choose the unique, original piece that's a little rough around the edges over the story or poem that took no risks, never went deeper than the surface, or worst of all, phoned it in because "anyone can write a spin-off."

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

AMB: I'm pretty forgiving, to be honest—but I have problems when an author obviously hasn't read the guidelines (there's wiggle room for format issues, and there's just completely ignoring the theme). Outside of that, I take issue when it's clear that an author has "phoned it in"—it's insulting to me as a reader and an editor, and it makes me sad for the author, who doesn't seem concerned with the quality of work attached to their name. Outside of that, the standard ISMs turn me off: sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, ageism, etc. Anything that promotes hateful or hurtful stereotypes or work that includes inflammatory words or themes for the intent of pandering to the lowest common denominator. I also have an irrational hatred of rhetorical questions in poetry ("Why does the wind blow?"), the abused-since-the-time-of-e.e.-cummings intentionally lowercase "i" (often for NO discernible reason), ellipses that are used for appearance instead of effect, and when a poet uses line breaks in a way that it's clear the line breaks are to make the piece "look like a poem" instead of to convey meaning (you can generally see this when the language choices and line breaks aren't in symmetry.)

SQF: Are there any genre restrictions for submissions?

AMB: If you do it well, I want to read it. That said, please don't flood us with sparkly vampires or angst-driven Frankenstein creations (well, wait, now that I write that down, that *was* sort of Shelley's thing, wasn't it?) The long and the short of it is that we're not looking for only one specific genre and we're not ignoring any genres, either. As long as the work follows the guidelines and relates to the theme in a way that's clear, we'll read and consider any kind of work, as long as it's written well and makes our heart skip, our breath catch, or we can't get it out of our heads for a few days after reading it.

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

AMB: While we prefer new material, we understand in the changing online world, where every author wants as many readers as possible to see their work, it's getting less and less pragmatic to put that restriction on writers. Mainly we ask that you're respectful. Disclose the piece's history, so we can properly credit our peer publications, and everyone can be happy for the story getting a new crack at a different audience.

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

LQ: I wish that you had asked what kind of submissions I wish we'd get that we haven't gotten. And I'd say that I wish I could see more collaborative, interwoven submissions. Right now, each issue of NonBinary Review is a bunch of authors having a dialogue with a particular author or body of work, but I'd love to see more authors dialoguing with each other—works that work together, complement each other; shared stories, shared worlds.

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

NEXT POST: 7/18--Six Questions for Stephanie Bryant Anderson, Poetry Editor/Publisher, Red Paint Hill Publishing


  1. I can't get to the current story---I don't mean to sound stupid but do I get there?

    1. Hi, James. This site provides links to the writer guidelines. From there, you can link to the correct page for current stories. In this case, "Issues." Or you can use this link -

  2. I'd like to know what themes you've already used. I have a story linked to The Iliad. Have you already done that one?