Friday, April 9, 2021

Six Questions for Ruslan Garrey and Elena Malkov, Editors, Sublunary Review

Sublunary Review publishes poetry in all forms, fiction to 5,000 words, flash fiction, and art. “We enjoy writing that’s dream-like but tactile—something that lets one feel the moonbeams between the fingertips.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Elena Malkov: We'd been talking about starting a magazine together for quite a while, but at the beginning of the pandemic, we found ourselves with some extra time and decided to finally go for it.


Ruslan Garrey: Elena, [Art Editor] Alex [Nowell] and I have been putting out work for years now, and I think one night we came to the realization—we have a writer, an artist, and poet here together, all talking about what sort of publication we would like to see. That’s really when I think everything came together; realizing that we were three friends with a common vision, the necessary skills, and the energy to create the journal we really wanted to exist.

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

EM: Striking imagery; clear, sharp writing; and an original concept. I want to read something unlike anything I've read before.  


RG: In poetry, I like to see a concrete idea. I hate things that are opaque for the sake of being opaque. Language and structure are a must, of course. It has to be deliberate, but unique, exciting, and spontaneous (a high bar to meet, but easy to see when it’s met). Poetry is a skill, but also an art of capturing a thought or a moment. The last is relationships (to things, to people, to places, to ideas, to stories, etc.); I don’t like to read drawn out ruminations about self that lead nowhere, and I suspect many others don’t either.  

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

EM: Heavy realism. I'm looking for work that could've been a weird dream, so I don't want anything too realistic, though I’ll make an exception if the writing style itself is more experimental. Conversely, I'm not interested in genre fiction, so anything that's obviously speculative or fantasy isn't likely to be accepted.


RG: Again, I don’t like ruminations of self that lead nowhere, especially when they are vague in nature. A poem about a relationship, experience or friendship can be quite moving, but vague allusions to being happy, sad or hurt are tedious. Any story can be told well, but many aren’t.  

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

EM: Hard to say precisely, but I'm looking for strange, surreal work. I love a first line/paragraph that plunges me into a weird new world.

RG: It’s hard to hit a home run in the opening line, but it’s easy torpedo an entire submission up front, in my regard. An original first line is always good, but how can that be defined? As long as it’s not something that I find turgid, I will keep reading with an open mind.

SQF: Is there a particular type of submission you’d like to receive more of?

EM: I'm always looking for more flash fiction. I think it's the perfect format for the kind of surrealism I'd like to see.


RG: Dreams journals written into poetry and translations.  

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

EM: What writers best typify the kind of work you're seeking? My answer would be Clarice Lispector, Franz Kafka and László Krasznahorkai.


RG: What is your favorite poem? If I had to say, it would be Borges y Yo, or Kublai Khan.

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

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