Editor Interview: Foundry

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Poems that think + feel.

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Scores of them: Kenyon Review; Colorado Review; The Offing; inter|rupture; Forklift, Ohio; Bat City Review; DIAGRAM; The Margins; TYPO; Boston Review; Sixth Finch; jubilat; Memorious; Muzzle Magazine; Jellyfish; Indiana Review; Quarterly West; Copper Nickel; Glass; The Shallow Ends; Pinwheel; wildness; Waxwing. We could go on and on. There are so many stellar journals being published now.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: This is a hard question. The poets who come to mind today are Mary Ruefle, Dean Young, Camille T. Dungy, Monica Youn, Tracy K. Smith, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Heather Christle, Katie Ford, Jericho Brown, Natalie Shapero, Khadijah Queen, Charles Simic, Suzanne Buffam, David Baker, and Joanna Klink.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: We are interested in poems as manufactured objects, and we are curious about how they are made. The word "poem" comes from (among other languages) the Greek and means "to make or compose." What does it mean to make a poem? In this sense, we put a spotlight on process and craft rather than on literary celebrity.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: The same advice I would give to any writer submitting to any publication: read at least one issue first. Follow the guidelines. Don't take rejections personally -- submitting is a numbers game. And if you are encouraged to submit again, do so!

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: It is surprising -- either in voice, form, or subject. Confident yet vulnerable. Offers a glimpse of the poet's range. And, of course, follows the guidelines.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Honestly, I don't know but would be curious to find out. We are a super small staff (there are only three of us), but we invest a lot of free labor and time in reviewing submissions. We are grateful that poets share their work with us and try to take good care of it.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Previous publications are irrelevant to our final decisions. What you hear editors say all of the time is true for us -- we love discovering exciting new voices.
We appreciate the professional courtesy of a brief cover letter addressing the journal by name. It takes a few seconds to customize a template, but the gesture is meaningful. On occasion, it can feel like we've spent more time reviewing a submission than the submitter spent reading our journal and submitting work to us.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: We read every poem submitted to us unless it is sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and/or able-ist. When we come across that type of content, we stop reading and immediately send a rejection.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: At least two editors read and comment on it. Often all three of us do.
Sometimes we know quickly. Other times, depending on where we are in our production cycle, it may take us a bit longer to decide.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: I work on Foundry every day, whether reading and responding to submissions, formatting the upcoming issue, corresponding with our authors, or promoting their work on social media. I fit it in whenever I can.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: It is vital, no question. We opted to go online because we knew we could reach a substantially larger audience than if we chose to publish in print first. We want to share the work of our poets with as wide an audience as possible, and we also want to reach a lot of potential submitters.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: We offer specific line edits (usually small copy edits but occasionally more) when we feel a poem we love needs it.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes. We nominate work for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, Bettering American Poetry, and Best of the Net.
We are thrilled that a few poems we have nominated so far have won -- Jane Wong's "When You Died" received a Pushcart Prize and Jess X. Chen's "Inheriting the Hurricane" was selected for Bettering American Poetry.