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Editor Interview: The Arkansas International

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

A: Writing from USA & abroad

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

A: Literary magazines: Cincinnati Review, Subtropics, Massachusetts Review, Words Without Borders, Poetry Magazine, Hudson Review, Paris Review, New England Review, 32 Poems, Missouri Review, Ploughshares... Presses: Archipelago, New York Review Books, Drawn & Quarterly, Two Lines Press, Open Letter, Deep Vellum, Dalkey Archive, New Directions, Melville House...

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

A: Peter Orner, Ishion Hutchinson, Rick Barot, Dubravka Ugrešic, Sidney Wade, ZZ Packer, Clare Cavanagh, Wiszlawa Szymborska, Donald Justice, Richard Wilbur, AE Stallings, Christian Wiman, Cody Walker, Esther Allen, Claudia Rankine, Eric McHenry, Anne Carson, Les Murray, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Patrizia Cavalli, Susan Bernofsky, Marian Schwartz, Marilyn Nelson, Breon Mitchell, Bill Johnston, Elizabeth Harris, Roger Reeves, C.D. Wright, Roberto Bolaño, Sigrid Nunez, Randall Mann, Michael Hofmann, Stephen Elliott, Eric Puchner, Miriam Toews, Maile Chapman, Rebecca Solnit, Mary Gaitskill, David Bezmozgis, Zadie Smith, Valeria Luiselli...

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

A: The Arkansas International seeks to put US writing in conversation with writing from around the world. To this end we seek out not only work in English by US writers but also translations from other languages and original work in English by writers from elsewhere. We publish poetry, prose (both fiction and non-), and comics. Our website, www.arkint.org, publishes selections from the magazine alongside additional content, such as reviews, author Q&As, and other features.

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

A: Please inform us at the outset if you are simultaneously submitting your work elsewhere (it's best if you're not), and let us know immediately if anything you've sent us has been taken elsewhere. As for translations, please include, if possible, copies of the original texts, and let us know whether or not you have already secured permission to publish your versions. (it's best if you have.) Also, do not submit your own translations of your own work, unless your name is Vladimir, or Czeslaw, or Joseph.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A comforting, disturbing, hilarious, heartbreaking, traditional, experimental poem or story or essay or comic, either originally in English or translated from another language.

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

A: Submitters most often get it right, but when they don't it's usually because they haven't taken a close look at our magazine or our website (www.arkint.org).

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

A: Cover letters and lists of previous publications are welcome but not required. Do let us know in your cover letter if your submission was solicited by anyone on our staff.

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

A: Each submission is read by multiple editors. Usually we read a piece to the end before rejecting it -- indeed sometimes we each read it multiple times. Other times we can tell before we read the whole thing that it isn't right for us.

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

A: The editor of each genre (poetry, prose, comics) makes their initial recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief. If the work in question is a translation, the translation editor consults with the genre editor before making their recommendations. Initial recommendations are then discussed and sometimes revised after conversations among the genre editors, the translation editor, the managing editor, and the Editor-in-Chief. Our primary consideration is literary excellence as we perceive it, but beyond that we consider other factors in order to produce issues that present a diverse range of voices, themes, styles, geographies, and cultures.

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

A: It varies a great deal -- there are ebbs and flows that correspond in part to the semester schedule (we are associated with the University of Arkansas MFA program), to the publication cycle (we go to press in September and March), and to the submission calendar (we have free submissions for four months out of the year, paid submissions for another four, and are closed for submissions over the summer).

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

A: While we are a print journal and believe in the ongoing importance (and beauty) of printed work, we also embrace modern technologies. We accept submissions exclusively electronically, and we have a rich website (www.arkint.org) that serves to complement our print issues. We also have an active social media presence that we use to promote not just ourselves but also the work of our contributors wherever and whenever it appears.

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

A: It depends. We always provide basic proofreading and copyediting, we often suggest minor line edits, and in some cases we work with contributors to provide more substantive editing. The author always gets to approve any edits: we send out proofs to all contributors before we go to press.

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

A: Yes, we nominate work we've published for inclusion in the Pushcart anthology and for any other awards for which they might be eligible.