Friday, January 25, 2019

Six Questions for Lori Desrosiers, Publisher/Founding Editor, WORDPEACE

"WORDPEACE is a semi-annual online journal of literary response to world events in the spirit of promoting peace and hope for all people. We are looking for previously unpublished essays, interviews, fiction and poetry (or mixed media) to publish which reflect this aim. We welcome international, LGBTQ and diverse voices. We want work that asks for positive change and is forward thinking. We publish writing that takes a stand against corruption and greed, brutality, genocide, and oligarchy.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

(From’s home page)

Lori Desrosiers (Publisher/Founding Editor: Monica Hand and I founded WORDPEACE in the hope of making a difference, despite having to live our lives, care for our families, and continue writing and publishing. Monica isn’t here anymore to see the continuation of this vision, and I miss my friend. Every issue of this journal will be dedicated to her. This time around I’m so blessed to have Ciona Rouse, Lisa C. Taylor, Russell Taylor and Monica Barron to choose work for the journal. We all want to stand up to indifference by publishing work that inspires people to think, in the hope that it will spur someone to activism, and, eventually a life of conscious caring.

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

Monica Barron (non-fiction editor): We look for/listen for good sentences. In literary nonfiction, sentences don't just carry water. They control pacing, silence, the degree of engagement a reader has with the world of a piece and its voices. Readers, at best, will skim if the prose is bad.

We are a little less certain about this statement: we listen for a subtext of uncertainty about the world post-2016. We are uncertain about America's acts in the world. Do we ever act out of compassion anymore? Or just greed and ignorance. Can a subtext we think we are listening for be the mark of social justice writing? A certainty about America being on the right path just feels wrong right now.

Ciona Rouse (poetry editor): I would also emphasize that we look for work--in poetry particularly--that uses the craft to practice honesty about self and community. Honesty, in this instance probably asks more questions than it gives answers. I look for work that seems to stir good questions within the reader.

Lisa C. Taylor (fiction editor): Good questions! In fiction, I look for an opening that immediately pulls me into the world of the story without a lot of exposition. For WORDPEACE, the story or hybrid piece must go with the social justice theme of the journal. I also look for strong characters whose lives are impacted by the conflict or movement in the prose.

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

Monica Barron (non-fiction): Epistolary rants about DT written by people whom we do not think seriously write nonfiction. After more thought, we worry they could be bots. Writers who seem caught up in unexamined whiteness are a turn-off.

Lisa C. Taylor (fiction): What turns me off immediately: misspellings, poor grammar, too much exposition, and stereotypical characterization. Descriptions of setting rarely work in the beginning unless setting functions as a character. I can overlook grammar if the writer is ESL and the piece is strong. We can help the writer to edit the final version, if accepted.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?

Monica Barron (NF): Openings that grab us...have something in terms of voice, place, and idea. Voice, as in interesting content of consciousness and attentiveness to the world. Place, as in a world view that understands the relationships between people and place and all its inhabitants. Yi Fu Tuan says, "Place is space with meaning attached." Do that. Idea, as in thinking is as essential as breathing. Show us some.

Lisa C. Taylor (Fiction): That first sentence should make it near impossible for me to look away or stop reading.

SQF: If WORDPEACE had a theme song, what would it be and why?

Ciona Rouse (poetry editor): I'd suggest "Ain't Got No, I Got Life" by Nina Simone. Declaring life right now feels like a radical act of peace and hope, and this song does it so beautifully--direct and corporeal.

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