Friday, January 15, 2021

Six Questions for Mark Danowsky, Founder/Editor, ONE ART: a journal of poetry

ONE ART aims to publish poetry that adds value to the life of our readers. A poem must not only be good, it must be lasting. Ask yourself what poems you return to again and again. Those are the poems we want to share with the world.” Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Mark Danowsky: In all seriousness, it felt like I finally had enough experience for it to be appropriate to do so.


A while back, I was a reader for two journals that are now defunct. I then became involved with the Schuylkill Valley Journal (svjlit.com). Years of working with the SVJ and engaging in the literary community provided the 10,000 hours (so to speak) necessary to fine-tune my editorial toolkit. 


My hope is that ONE ART can amplify the voices I believe are urgent for others to hear.


I want to build bridges, to be a good steward of The Arts, to make artists feel empowered about their creations, to make spaces for creators to flourish.



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


MD: There’s an interview with the critic James Longenbach where he mentions how it’s a big deal when a poet finally gets to the point of sounding like themselves on the page. It’s a huge accomplishment and this cannot be overstated.


It’s essential to maintain voice and tone from start to finish. This is harder than it sounds.   


That the poem has something invaluable to share and, moreover, the poet said it right. If you look at many perennial poems you’ll see that the poet managed to articulate something or capture a moment in a way that feels like they nailed it. Every time you read that poem you feel the gut punch. A good goal is to feel this when you read your own poems, too. 



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


MD: Often, I suspect, the overall problem is the poet just hasn’t come into their own yet. They just need more practice. Read and write. Read and read and write. I want to like the work, I promise.


I’m not a fan of machismo. I don’t want to read poems about the crush you remember from high school. I’m not impressed by the use of vulgar language for inexplicable reasons; I know plenty of folks that have lived wild lives and they can talk about it without being obscene.



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


 MD: Speak to me on the level. I want to feel the person behind the speaker. Don’t hide. 



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


MD: I’m not big on white space for the sake of white space. Use your words. There are many ways to incorporate silence. There are many ways to reveal your cadence. 



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


MD: The state of publishing.


In recent times, there are similarities in the literary world and the music industry. The emphasis on singles vs. albums is not unlike the individual poem vs. a collection. The old industry concept of waiting years for publishing seems out of touch with the pace of our society. Bearing that in mind, I aim to publish poems within 2-3 weeks of acceptance. In a world where it feels we are all living on borrowed time, I want to get the material out into the world in a timely fashion.


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


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