Friday, October 13, 2023

Six Questions for Mira Mason-Reader, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Apricity Press

Apricity Press publishes poetry, fiction/prose, visual arts, and dance. “Embodying the obsolete word it was named after, Apricity aims to manifest the feeling of the warmth of the sun in the winter in all that it publishes.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Mira Mason-Reader: I started Apricity in 2015 the summer after graduating from Mills College and earning my BA in English, Creative Writing and Dance. I’ve always loved being in creative spaces, and I felt really sad to be leaving the incredible art scene at Mills. I was heading off to earn my MA in Creative Writing at University College Cork in Ireland in the fall, but I wanted to ensure that I always had a connection with other artists, and starting a literary magazine felt like the right way to do that. 

The publishing world felt really small and insular, with a few magazines reigning supreme and acting as the arbiter for what art “should” be. I wanted to help create a space for art that wasn’t viewed as a commodity or based on pedigree, but instead based on experiencing art together, enjoying art for art’s sake. 

As a dancer, I felt like dance was so often left out of publishing opportunities even though dance films have been around for decades. Dance can be so fleeting, and if it’s not recorded, it’s just gone. I wanted it to be able to keep on living through the page, and to show the inherent connections between dance, visual art, and literature. Apricity continues to be one of the only magazines that publishes dance works, and we’re so proud to be a part of that micro cohort. 

We’re launching submissions for our ninth issue this fall, and we continue to be honored, humbled, and in awe of getting to experience and share all of this incredible work with the world. 

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

MM: We look for work that's sure of itself, work that has its own presence, whether it’s literal or abstract. We don't conform to outdated notions of what art should and shouldn't be, and instead look for work that purposefully does whatever it wants to. Whether that's a traditional sonnet or an abstract dance film filmed upside down and backwards, if you're doing it on purpose we want to see it!

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

MM: Someone who clearly did not read our submission guidelines. If you submit a 15-page piece of fiction we will immediately disregard it, as you clearly didn’t read our very simple submission guidelines. Running and creating Apricity is a labor of love for myself and all of our editors as none of us get paid to do this, and if submitters don’t show a base level of respect for our time by reviewing our guidelines (which again, are very simple) we can’t be bothered to review their submission. 

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

MM: We look for a clear, distinct voice that feels sure of itself, regardless of the subject or genre. It can be from the perspective of an unreliable narrator or a distant star in the universe, but it must love being its own thing. From a less abstract perspective, we look for your BEST work! Work free of grammatical errors (unless they’re very clearly intentional and a part of the work), work that has been edited and nursed into being, work with love and care and adoration for itself, work made on purpose. 

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

MM: We don’t have many taboos or hard sells we won’t consider publishing, as we believe first and foremost in art for art's sake and freedom of expression. However, if work features unquestioned themes of sexism, racism, and indoctrination, we won’t consider it. We look for maturity of thought, and if you’re spouting secondhand, stale concepts we’re not interested in providing any platform for them. 

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

MM: Not a question so much as a statement: Apricity is here because of YOU, not the other way around! We would be nothing without your incredible work, and we are beyond proud we get the opportunity to share it with the world. Not to get too preachy, but we need art more than ever right now; to help us connect, make us ask questions, and find some true joy. Keep sharing your work with the world!

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

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