Editor Interview: Oddball Magazine

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

A: poetry, art, pop culture

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

A: I think Cervena Barva Press is a fantastic and long standing, unique publication. Cervena Barva's Editor Gloria Mindock is an amazing and intelligent editor, and poetry enthusiast. She should be commended for her passion and definitely the writers that she chooses to publish.

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

A: My favorite writers are Charles Bukowski, Chuck Palhynk, Carl Sandberg, Emily Dickinson, Andrew Borne, Henry Rollins, Amanda Wilding, Jon Keats, Kurt Vonnegut, Leonard Cohen, and any writer that pushes the boundaries. I like Franz Kafka, Aldoux Huxley, and Roald Dahl. I love Arthur Rimbaud, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P Lovecraft, and Nick Flynn. I like Isaac Asimov and Stephen King. I also enjoy writers like Kay Redfield Jamison, and Oliver Sacks.

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

A: Our publication updates daily sometimes two or three times a day. We are constantly seeking new poets and artists to join our publication. We work hard on Oddball Magazine, we love it, we are passionate, and love that people enjoy it as well. We want to be the best, and we seek only the best. We find that the best writers are raw, or rhythmical. I encourage rhyming poetry, it is one of my favorite styles. We are wordsmiths, we want those who publish on our site to have the same equal passion as us. We want anyone who we choose to publish to be proud of their poem and our publication. Also we have outstanding columnists who day in and day out are grinding. We ask a lot of our columnists, they produce something for us each and every week, including myself. As for Oddball Magazine, you will find so much different content on our site. We have multimedia on our site, like a poet slamming a poem, with the lines of the poem below. We have music on our site. We have a Monday morning comic strip! We have done benefits like "Poems for Joe", which we paid tribute to our friend Joe Gouveia who was suffering from cancer at the time. We are a Boston magazine so we ran poetry concerning the Boston Marathon Bombing. We have put up timely submissions for events like the passing of Robin Williams and the Paris Bombings. We also are coming up with constant new ideas to challenge the writers who want to submit to our magazine. All and all I think we are a truly unique site, and my Associate Editor Chad Parenteau and all of our columnists and contributors should be commended for working so hard on a daily basis. I know I appreciate them so incredibly much, and Oddball Magazine wouldn't be quite as successful without them.

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

A: Give us your best. Give us your experimental. Give us your sickest rhyme scheme. Give us your best art, your best photography. When I or Chad look at your words, we want to say Damn, that's good, thats real good. Shake us up, throw us your rawest and heart breaking poetry. Lift us up, give us a glimmer of hope by sending a love poem out to the world. Make us think, throw a crazy Sestina at us, or wow us with a Villanelle. Read us a few times before you send us something. Read our columnists, thats what we put out to the world. Be real. Don't try and fake it. Give us your best, and we will give you our best. Come real with it.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: My ideal submission for me, would be something that I read and I say "Yeah, thats good." I want to be excited, I want to reach out to Chad, and say "we have to run this tomorrow". I want art that breaks the lens. I want poetry that says "Hey I'm a poet, and I am knocking on your damn door, let me in...I am going to rock your world." Thats the ideal submission.

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

A: Actually I think our submitters are pretty good about following our guidelines. Some people over-submit but that doesn't bother me that much. I might not publish someone who constantly submits to us, (I mean like daily), but if its good, I'll run it. I have a couple of poets that send me something every day, doesn't bother me though. I am honored that they feel that they can send me something of theirs usually fresh off their notepad. I wouldn't submit that much to someone, but I don't mind if they do.

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

A: Honestly, As much as possible. I like to know people who submit to my magazine. Tell us something unique about you. Regal me with a story, give us your best Boston accent, have fun with it. We are a literary magazine, be it a good one, but we don't take ourselves that seriously.

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

A: That varies. Chad's taste is different than my taste. We receive a lot of submissions, the ones I handle I know right away I am going to publish after a few reads. If a poem is astronomically long though, I usually gloss over them, unless it has killer content. If it has killer content, and the poem keeps my attention I am going to publish it. If the poem is wordy and trite, I'm done with it. If the poem is in bad taste, I'm done with it. However, I know if the poet got my attention he has his publication.

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

A: If Chad or I are on the fence about a submission, I'll ask him his opinion, he'll ask mine. If we are in agreement, then we decide together whether yay or nay.

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

A: Well, every day we are accepting submissions, reviewing submissions. We are preparing columns for the week, and setting up our social media. I am networking with other poets or colleagues, brainstorming, think-tanking, drinking coffee, and then getting to work.

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

A: I think it is incredibly important for publishers to know social media, to reach a wider audience. I think using a submissions manager is crucial to keeping a magazine organized and in tact. I think it is advantageous for them to know how to navigate Wordpress or other blogger software. I think it is important to adapt with the ever changing tides of technology. If you can't tweet, good luck trying to use social media. If you can't navigate something like WordPress, then you might have a difficult time staying current online. I also think that sites like Duotrope are so important and an incredible tool for writers to get their work out there. I would like to take this time to thank Duotrope for their excellent work and for acknowledging myself and the staff at Oddball Magazine.
Thank You Duotrope.
JW