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Editor Interview: Free State Review

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

A: Cables, wires, dispatches

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

A: Publishing Genius Press, Coconut (online), Agni, La Fovea, Blood Horse, American Poetry Review, Tyrant Books, River Styxx, Concho River Review, Quarter After Eight, Slipstream, Chattahoochee Review, American Poetry Review, and others.

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

A: In fiction, we were killed in the past three months by Jacob Appel, Claire Donato and Jennifer Pashley. Of course we like Strand and Gilbert and Dexter Gordon. For newer poets, Melissa Broder makes our ears drunk.

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

A: Only one editor in four is still young enough to drive. We are old. We've seen many publications and trends come and go since we began publishing our own work in the early 1960s. What we treasure is the chance to share what we see when our eyes are closed with the many younger writers today who have so much to write about and so many skills they can't blink fast enough.

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

A: Chase us around the kitchen table. Seduce us with the language of innocence and experience. Try to avoid simple reflections or recollections. Try to send us something we couldn't ever have written ourselves.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A single attachment, well edited but not to the point of sanitized. We'd rather see "reach" than "polish," since polish can be done at any time. Our open submission periods are brief, but are year round for subscribers. What this means is that we have far more time to invest in any necessary back and forth which may want to occur if authors are more familiar with our magazine.

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

A: It's unfortunate when authors blindly send us work without even reading parts of issues on our web site, or else have an unrealistic sense of when they should hear from us. A number of authors are in such a hurry to catch a plane. Just send the work. If we want to see more we'll ask. As editors, we do this because we love you, not because we're against you.

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

A: We care about cover letters, but wish more authors would keep them to polite introductions, maybe a word or two about a cluster of writing whence the submission might have come. We often receive exciting material that kicks language around and it's nice to have an idea how the author traveled to that place. We like to know where someone studied, just to momentarily enjoy the memory of a particular writer we may know, but we eschew degrees and resumes in our biographical details. The ideal cover letter pulls back the curtain a little bit, doesn't over share, and doesn't feel like a marriage proposal. We rather not hear of a Pushcart nomination unless it was successful, and prefer a boutique list of credits

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

A: We read online or on paper at a four foot chestnut table. Each time a submission trips us up, we slide the poem or story a little to the right, until, if we keep tripping, it falls to the floor.

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

A: Not every submission we love makes it into the magazine, and we'll even make a point to include a few submissions that we don't like very much. This way, we try to have works that sometimes go against our nature, which Dylan, and some scientists have told us, is how to keep evolving. Once a story passes one editor, it is shared with another. If any two out of four editors like a submission we try to include it and thereby avoid the committee approach.