Friday, June 2, 2017

Six Questions For: Matthew W Larrimore Editor, Four Ties Lit Review

Four Ties Lit Review publishes fiction and non-fiction to 5,000 words and poetry. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Matthew Larrimore: I started Four Ties Lit Review in 2012 because I knew I was going to miss the experience of working on a literary publication. I was graduating my MA program at Northern Arizona where I had been Editor of Thin Air Magazine in my second (last) year in the program. Not only do I love the connection to the other editors; I get excited by the prospect of finding some great pieces of Writing / Art. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when we put an issue to bed. It's a thrill to put together the kind of publication I'd want to submit to and read. Finally, I think it's more than important to provide a venue for more voices to be heard, it’s a duty.

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

ML: When I read a submission, I want to be moved. If I laugh, if I cry, get pissed off or feel proud of a character, that's what I'm looking for. The piece needs to be smart and can't bore me. But if the piece moves me, it has almost always been intelligent and not dull.  If it moves me, chances are it'll move our readers, and that's how I see my job, to find stories, poems, and pieces of art that folks want to read and see.

SQF: What turns you off of a submission?

ML: If I’m bored, I stop reading and I’ve told my editors to do the same. I avoid pieces that glorify violence (in almost any form).  And I shy away from overtly Political (with a capital P) pieces, though I don't put the same constraints on my editors.

SQF: What magazines do you read?

ML: I write poetry and book reviews, so I have “Poetry” and “The New York Review of Books” delivered so I can read those regularly. I'm always reading something to review; Luisa Igloria's "Haori,” Bruce McRae's "Hearsay" and Vida Cross's "Bronzeville at Night: 1949" are on my radar now, but there is just so much good stuff out there. Also, every year at AWP I pick up a few promising compilations / reviews, copies of the "Saranac Review", "The Missouri Review" are on my desk in my office right now. Additionally, I take some time to read online content looking for how quality online publications are handling themselves, "Blackbird Magazine", "Cleaver Magazine", and "Paper Darts" are the first three that come to mind. All the reading I do for my writing also keeps me updated as an editor.

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

ML: We respond to as many pieces as we can. Most of my staff are writers too and we know the value of good feedback. We provide that when we can. But if we tried to respond to each and every one we’d be so tied up with responding to individual pieces we’d never get the issue published. We always notify submitters of the status of their piece as soon as we know, and we let submitters know how close a piece was to being accepted.

One more thing

Four Ties Lit Review is open for submissions from May 5th - June 16th for Issue VI. We’ll take all the work for the issue from those submissions. Last year, Four Ties took about 450 entries during our open submission period. That included about 220 submissions of poetry or about 880 poems. We published 16 of those poems, 2%. We received submissions from across the spectrum, published poets to absolute beginners, PhDs, and MFAs to High School students. It's immense fun to see the range of work across all the genres; what makes this significant is that we're a small magazine. And as I said earlier, there’s a lot of good writing in circulation. Our numbers for fiction and nonfiction were just a bit less selective, but we are currently trending toward being even more selective. If you like to write, write, go ahead. Writing should be a fun and vital activity for those who practice it. Please, share it with, us, your friends, family, etc. But don't let chasing publication discourage you in any way from this most marvelous of activities. You never know when genius will strike or what the next generation will think of your writing.

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

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