Editor Interview: Juke Joint

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

A: Best damn biscuits around

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

A: Honestly, questions like this can become an exercise in name-dropping, so know that there are so many damn good magazines out there doing damn fine work, and we love that. But some of the publications we admire are The Adroit Journal, Thrush Poetry Journal, Poetry, The Greensboro Review, The Believer, Smartish Pace, Bodega, and so so so many others.

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

A: Writers: Terrance Hayes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Claudia Emerson, Laura Kasischke, Kevin Young, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Bruce Snider, Robert Hass, Audre Lorde, Mark Strand, Ansel Elkins.
Artists: Mark Rothko, Georgia O'Keefe, Keith Haring, Etel Adnan, Jacob Lawrence, Rory Doyle, Ansel Adams, Nam June Paik.

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

A: I believe that Juke Joint's mission is to create space where space is limited. Undoubtedly, the South has a horrific reputation that precedes itself, and I say that as someone who has spent much of his life there. Because of that Juke Joint's goal is to create a table where everyone is welcome to sit down and share good art because creative expression, unlike our country and this region's past, doesn't discriminate--anyone can create. But I think we are also, genuinely, down to earth folks who want to develop relationships with the artists we publish that extend beyond the screen of our magazine. We do so much more than curate poetry and visual art. We build community and encourage artistic self-love.

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

A: Read poetry. Read poetry every day, if you can. And read our past issues.
If we don't jive with your work the first time around, take it in stride and send us more work. This whole process is so inherently fickle and subjective. Don't give up on your work or us.
We love a good, non-traditional artist bio. Sure, you've been published in however many journals and nominated for whatever prize, but we want to get to know you! You like food trucks and listening to Wham! in the shower? You play the accordion? Your cat, D'Artagnan, is a master hunter of chipmunks? Now we're talking turkey.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Duende.
Also, follow our guidelines :)

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

A: We often get poems typed into the body of an email, rather than attached pieces. It's cumbersome, certainly with respect to formatting.
We get the occasional poem that hasn't been sufficiently proofread. It's always good practice to read your work aloud and double-check before you hit send.

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

A: As much as you're willing to tell! We love getting to know the folks we publish, seriously.

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

A: We read everything we receive to the very end, regardless of how we may/may not feel a few lines/stanzas/minutes into the piece.

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

A: We talk amongst ourselves, especially over work that we are in debate about, but also certainly about work that we particularly appreciate. We also communicate with each artist via query process to ensure every poem jives with our house style--Chicago Manual.

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

A: Imagine a human staring at poems on a computer screen, reading them aloud (maybe in a coffee shop, maybe at home, maybe on a phone). If this is your image, then you're behind the scene.

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

A: In whatever way it happens, when poetry and art are read or shared and created, we're moving in the right direction. Whatever it takes to get more people to create and share good art is healthy, in our opinion. If that means Snapchat poetry should exist, cool. If that means a poem in Poetry magazine, we dig that too!

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

A: We query every poem with each author, but we don't try to make substantive changes to work we accept. We want work that's sure of itself and where it is in the process. Do we sometimes find a few quirks/things that don't seem to mesh with our house style? Yeah, sure. But we're not going to ask our contributors to re-lineate their work or rewrite a stanza or take another photo from a different angle or use a different color scheme.