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Editor Interview: The Skinny Poetry Journal

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

A: The best Skinnys written.

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

A: Cherry Castle Publishing, Central Square Press, Third World Press, pluck!, Black Classic Press, Apogee Literary Journal, Kweli Literary Journal, Poetry Magazine, and Little Patuxent Review--to name a few.

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

A: Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Gerald Stern, Marvin Gaye, Tony Medina, Nikki Giovanni, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Seamus Heaney, Bob Dylan, E. Ethelbert Miller, Alicia Ostriker, Mozart, Tupac Shakur, Louis Reyes Rivera, Yasiin Bey, Chadwick Boseman, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Dolly Parton, Ross Gay, Jeff Friedman, Martin Espada, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane, Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca, Miles, Charlie Parker, Aretha Franklin, Richard Wright, Alex Hale, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Phillis Wheatley, Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson--to name a few.

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

A: No other publication is edited by the creator of the fixed-form that it celebrates. Indeed, no other literary journal is dedicated to the Skinny poetry form and features the best poetry written in that form.

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

A: For a Skinny to be a notable work, it must first be a notable poem. The crafting of layers of meaning, informed by figurative language, and the expression of some universal truth about the human condition is key. That is the kind of poetry we have an interest in publishing.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: It should be a great poem.

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

A: They abide by the structural guidelines that are needed to construct a Skinny, however, they do not incorporate any figurative language in their pieces. They submit prose, not poetry.

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

A: No cover letters or lists of publications are required. Literary social classism has no bearing on successful submissions.

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

A: I read every submission, working in concert with a small team of other editors--and yes, acceptances and rejections are quickly apparent.

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

A: None.

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

A: Reading. Reading. Reading.

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

A: Growth requires change. So yes, embracing "the new" is something we deem as wise--and intellectually healthy.

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

A: Usually, not a great deal. We have too many submissions for that to be feasible. However, occasionally we offer editorial suggestions to writers regarding work that is very promising.

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

A: Yes.