Friday, January 22, 2021

Six Questions for Michelle Moloney King, Editor, Beir Bua

Bear Bua publishes experimental, avant-garde, postmodern, visual poetry and abstract art.

(Ceased publication)


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Michelle Moloney King: I started Beir Bua after months of submitting and thinking, ‘I could do this.’ My imagination just took control one night while watching Netflix I opened the laptop and made the site. Within a few weeks, issue one went live and we nominated 6 poets for The Pushcart, meanwhile other new journals were still at submission stage. There was such momentum behind this journal. I wanted to have fun. Oh and to shine a light on experimental writing and to support poets.



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


MK: Punctuation, capitalization, and guidelines. Style wise - be experimental. Beir Bua's subs are usually top quality so the below are idealistic.


1. Punctuation is important, don’t try to be weird; I’m looking for INFORMED DESIGN not people trying to be cool. Trying is a turn off, you’re bringing in the ego mind. Commas and full stops allow your poem to breathe, they are magical and have power over the readers actual breath. The avant-garde is about expanding the mind in the time of Aquarius - it matters!


2. Large capital letters at the start of each new sentence only works if it's part of an informed decision. Many experimental works ignore usual formatting but it's obvious when it's done for the right reason and when it's done from not knowing any better. It’s jarring and not for the right reasons. But when it's an informed decision and done well it's wonderful!


3. Did you follow the guidelines? Sometimes I will just send a rejection, despite work being great, if they didn’t follow guidelines. It just tells me you don’t take my time seriously - so why should I. It tells me that you make your own rules and more than likely you will be a tricky submitter - emailing a lot, wanting changes, demanding.... Or asking questions for the sake of it despite the information being on the submissions page.



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


MK: It's so subjective but:

  1. Judgement of others. I often see that through the use of the pronoun "you."

  2. A poem with a narrative. Although I do adore a moving play of signifiers to construct endless cycles.

  3. A poet being too in the ego mind when writing it.

  4. Political poems judging society or governments; an avant-garde work is already political by not following the usual techniques! And good poetry is art, a big emotion recalled in peace. I'm not your platform for pushing your agenda.

  5. It's about being in flow: less ego-brain-you and more subjective flow.

  6. Beir Bua is lucky, we've had amazing submissions.


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


MK: The energy of the poet and how it was written. Objectivity. The unknown. The feeling of something from a new dimension.



SQF: You recently published your first issue. Based on your experience in starting a journal, what advice can you offer others who are considering beginning their own online zine?


MK: Start it with a snort of laughter. Honestly, by submitting your own poems and reading guidelines - you'll know what you want from your journal. Be ok with saying not yet, poetry is subjective and that's ok. And support other journals.



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


MK: What can poets do to promote their work?


Twitter can be a waste of time in the bigger scheme of things, sometimes.


It's better for the poet to write a new blog post with the journal name in header along with their poem title and their name. And then either paste their published poem or a line from it in the below post - always with link back to the journal. Or a summary and link to the journal page.


You need to think S.E.O not the flash of Twitter. And too many tweets can be pointless unless you're asking people to view your work on the journal page, or go view your website.


It's a fine line, social media promo is great but a blog post is far better in terms of a poet's career and S.E.O.


All poets should have an actual website. For my personal poetry, page I use WordPress and always link back to journals I'm in. You don't need to, but having a website is magic in terms of being searchable.and helping the journals you're published in with backlinks and S.E.O.


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

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