Friday, January 3, 2020

Six Questions for Heather Bartlett, Founder/Editor, Hoxie Gorge Review

Hoxie Gorge Review is a new online literary journal, committed to publishing innovative poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by both emerging and established contemporary writers. Based at the State University of New York at Cortland, Hoxie Gorge aims to provide a platform for writing that is urgent and engaging. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Heather Bartlett: I’ve long wanted to edit a literary magazine. Hoxie Gorge Review was born out of that long held desire, as well as a desire to create opportunity for exceptional students in the writing program at SUNY Cortland. Our aim with Hoxie Gorge is to carve out a place in the literary conversation. We wanted to create a platform to showcase outstanding writing. We wanted to place emerging writers right alongside established writers. We wanted to become a space for important and incisive voices.

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

1. Voice – we’re looking for work with a strong and distinct voice.
2. Tension – what’s at stake? What keeps us invested and moving through this work?
3. Surprise – we want to find something or end up somewhere we were not expecting.

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

HB: Submissions that are not thoughtfully crafted. We are turned off of a submission when it is clear that the writer didn’t care enough about their work to read our submission guidelines, or to proofread for grammar and typos before submitting. This is not to say that the occasional typo will keep us from reading; I know all too well how easy it is to spot typos immediately after clicking “submit.” But when a writer doesn’t take care with their submission, it will be hard for us to be pushed to invest in it.

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

HB: We want to be pulled in right away, so we’re looking for those three things –voice, tension, and some element of surprise to propel us forward into the piece.

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

HB: Yes, erotica, sex for sex sake, violence for violence sake, these are all hard sells for us. But the biggest hard sell is work that doesn’t contribute anything new to the conversation. We don’t have to reinvent the coming of age story or the memoir essay to do that, but we do want work that is unique in some way – coming at it from a place we weren’t expecting or showing us something we hadn’t seen in the same way before.

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

HB: What’s it like, starting and editing a literary magazine?

It is a labor of love

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

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