Friday, August 15, 2014

Six Questions for Kimberly Ann Southwick, Editor-in-chief, Gigantic Sequins

Gigantic Sequins is a biannual black & white print literary journal that publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art, and comics. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

Kimberly Ann Southwick:

Memorability: Those works that you can't forget or keep coming back to or are buzzing around in your head for days. We want our journal to be something people come back to.

Eloquence: And not in, it has to sound pretty, but a piece be it fiction or poetry or even a comic—we want it to be using language to the best of language's abilities. Eloquence can mean making a sentence sound beautiful or a couplet sound like no one ever put those words together in this one perfect way—and probably never will again.

Movement: Perhaps most of all, we want to be moved. You need the above two qualities for sure to move our editors, but there's that something else extra special that makes a work just stab at you-- we're always looking to be stabbed at.

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

KAS: Each of our genre editors most likely has a different answer here, but as Editor in Chief, I'll tell you my biggest pet peeve: anything that doesn't follow our specific guidelines. We're not so strict at GS! We don't ask you to do anything too specific. But anyone who just hasn't read the rules, and it's clear from their submission from the start—whether they've sent a whole manuscript or are calling us GIANT instead of GIGANTIC Sequins—those submissions are always hard to take seriously. If you aren't taking US seriously, why should I take your work seriously? Again, I am sure that within each category the genre editors would say something different. My Non-fiction Editor, Ian, and I don't like reading about therapy; though we've printed second person narrated stories before. Zach Yontz, GS Fiction Editor, and I are growing tired of them; and Sophie and I probably don't want to read about anyone's soul or anyone's penis in any of the poems submitted to us. There are always the exceptions to those rules, though. Someone might send us an excellent poem about a cock someday or the best essay we've ever read all about someone's therapist.

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

KAS: No. Publishing work on a blog counts as "previously published" in our definition of that phrase. If you've taken it down before you've submitted it, though, there's no way for us generally to tell you've published it there.

SQF: Your 5.2 issue drops this July. Any work that particularly stands out in that issue, and why?

KAS: We're publishing a lyric essay for the first time in 5.2 by Caitlyn Luce Christensen. We consider lyric essays under the poetry category, so this piece, "A Man Eats Another Man's Heart", got tossed around amongst readers and editors alike before it landed in the right place. Anyone who is reading this and might want to submit lyric essay to us, send it as poetry! Anyway, lucky for us the shifting around didn't speak against this piece but for it rather. Over in the Non-fiction category, we just didn't know what to do with the work—but we knew we liked it. The piece is bursting with all of the qualities I mentioned above. It's haunting and eloquent and after you read it once you want to read it again.

SQF: What magazines do you read?

KAS: I am a big fan of The Believer and a subscriber to Poets & Writers and Bitch. I also really like to pick up a copy of Bomb or n+1 when I am feeling ambitious in my reading. I read a lot of work in online journals like Everyday Genius, ILK, Sixth Finch, and Interrupture, to name a few. As for print journals, Stonecutter is a favorite, and a new favorite I just discovered at DC's Conversations & Connections conference this past April is The Intentional Quarterly. Good stuff.

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

KAS: "Do you run any contests for submitters? If so what makes them different than other contests writers can enter?" would be my question. My answer: YES! We recently ran our 3rd annual flash fiction and poetry summer contests, judged respectively by Mat Johnson and Dawn Lundy Martin. What makes our contests different is that we don't just offer a cash prize. We're a cash-poor journal. We fundraise hard year round to get the money together it takes to put out our journal—so in order to entice contest entries, we curate interesting prize packs to give away in addition to the cash prize we can offer! 

This summer, we're giving away a prize pack to each winner from the Poetry Society of America, Verso Books, Barrelhouse Books, and Small Press Distribution. The prizes include books (obviously), tote bags, shirts, and more. We also are giving $75 to each winner—not TOO shabby. Another thing that makes our contests different is that we run a FLASH fiction contest as opposed to a short story contest. We don't intend to, but we often love shorter style stories over longer ones, so this is a great way for GS to appreciate and award what we think is an already under appreciated genre. We hope, this winter, to run a flash non-fiction and comics contest, starting up a whole new series of winter contests for people to get excited about.

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

NEXT POST: 8/22—Six Questions for Robert James Russell and Elizabeth Schmuhl, Editors, Cheap Pop

1 comment:

  1. addendum from GS poetry editor, Sophie Klahr ! : I am all for penises and souls, but the WORD 'penis' never seems to sound right in a poem. Souls are fine with me, well done.