Editor Interview: Hermeneutic Chaos Journal

This interview is provided for archival purposes. The listing is not currently active.

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

A: Fierce, intelligent work.

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

A: We admire many journals, including, but not limited to, Blackbird, PANK, DIAGRAM, Barn Owl Review,Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Jellyfish, Thrush Poetry Journal, diode, Mississippi Review, Poetry, Crazyhorse and The Collagist.

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

A: Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood, Alfred Noyes, Raymond Carver, Franz Kafka, Mark Strand, Virginia Woolf, Jean Follain, Henri Michaux, Isabel Allende, Alex Lemon, Toni Morrison and Anne Waldman.

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

A: Apart from publishing the finest poetry and prose that we receive, we also publish a 'Symposium', wherein all the contributors in a particular issue come together to answer a particular quirky question pertaining to writing. It is a wonderful way for the writers to engage in a collaborative discourse, rather than presenting themselves as isolated writers in Hermeneutic Chaos. Also, our sole focus is on the literature that we publish, and their authors.

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

A: We would strongly urge the writers to read the past issues in our archives, and respect the guidelines for submission. We would also encourage them to read our aesthetic ethos in order to get an idea of the kind of work we publish. We mostly prefer work that eschew the traditional boundaries of style, plot and narrative flow, and mentor the abrupt and the experimental. The writers should also believe in what they write, and never give up.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: An ideal submission carries a short, professional cover letter addressing the editor, and writing that startles the known unknown in me, and moves me so much that I want to visit it again and again. It also presents the work in a clear, legible font.

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

A: Many times writers do not include a cover letter, or submit work that makes it quite evident that they have not read the journal they have submitted their poetry and/or prose to. Sometimes we receive submissions in which the writers spend a considerable amount of time and energy explaining the purpose and motive of the submission. It is extremely important to allow the work to speak for itself by not stifling it by an authorial scaffolding. Submitting work without proofreading is also one of the prominent mistakes that many writers make.

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

A: The writing community is a small one, and hence, it is always exciting to know about the writers submitting to us. However, we prefer not be inundated by long bios in the cover letters. We want to know you as a person, not as a resume. Keep the third person bio short but illuminating, highlighting the best of you, and include not more than five recent publications, if applicable. A publication history does not influence our decisions at all. The work must speak for itself.

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

A: As a writer myself, I understand the hard work that goes into the composition of a poetry or a prose, and hence, read every work submitted in its entirety at least twice, if not more. However, I can usually tell halfway through the work whether it finds congruence with the aesthetic ethos of the journal or not.

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

A: The journal has an extremely loyal readership, and hence I read each potential poetry or prose several times before sending the acceptance letter to its author. I also ensure that none of the published pieces acquires the reputation of being a feeble mimesis of a work earlier published in the journal. Since there is only person reading all the submissions, these decisions are made pretty quickly.

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

A: As a writer myself, I spend a couple of hours daily writing, editing,and submitting works to other literary journals. I reserve my evenings for a careful perusal of all the submissions that I receive on that particular day, which also allows me to send out timely responses. As a part of the writing community, I understand the anxiety that accompanies every submission and try to ensure a fast turnaround time.