Editor Interview: Matter Press

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

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

A: Compressed creative arts

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

A: SmokeLong Quarterly, FRiGG, Redivider, Prime Number, J Journal, Gathering of the Tribes, Lit Magazine, 3:AM Magazine, 34th Parallel, 971 Menu, Alligator Juniper, Barbaric Yawp, Big Muddy, The Binnacle, Blink | Ink, Cairn, Clackamas Literary Review, Clarion, Coal City Review, Concho River Review, Connecticut Review, Corium Magazine, Cream City Review, The Crucible, Dalhousie Review, Dark Sky Magazine, decomP, Dogzplot, Eclipse, elimae, Epicenter, Euphony, Eureka, Evansville Review, Folio, Flash, Front & Centre, Gargoyle, Grasslimb, Harpur Palate, Hobart, Hunger Mountain, Iron Horse, Juked, Keyhole, King's English, Legendary, Los Angeles Review, Main Street Rag, Minnetonka Review, Mississippi Review, Monkeybicycle, Dzanc Books, Rose Metal Press, Moon Milk Review, Mud Luscious, NANO Fiction, Night Train, Pank, Per Contra, Philadephia Stories, Quick Fiction, Quiddity, REAL, Saint Ann's Review, Southern Indiana Review, Sou'wester, Staccato, Storyglossia, PS Books, upstreet, wigleaf,Word Riot

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

A: Steve Almond, Kim Chinquee, Elizabeth Colen, Myfanwy Collins, Lydia Copeland, Nicelle Davis, David Ebenbach, Nicolle Elizabeth, Sarah Etter, Kathy Fish, Sherrie Flick, Stefanie Freele, Molly Gaudry, Roxane Gay, Peter Grandbois, Carol Guess, Tiff Holland, Tara Laskowski, Sueyeun Lee, Kate Light, Cynthia Litz, Sean Lovelace, Darlin Neal, Pamela Painter, Jen Pieroni, Chad Prevost, Ethel Rohan, Peter Schwartz, Curt Smith, Ray Vukcevich, Sybil Baker, Beverly Jackson, Kirsten Kaschock, Hal Sirowitz, Ellen Parker, Joseph Young

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

A: Matter Press cares for compressed forms. We believe that something very small can add up to something very big, as in the compressed moment of the big bang. We are all small people, made from small pieces. Some small people collapse compression down to insignificance. Some creation needs significant compression. Some creation needs the big to become small, chaos to tighten, enormity to entertain the size of one mind. Very tiny work matters. We want to think about why. We want to think through compression.

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

A: We aren't as concerned with labels—hint fiction, prose poetry, micro fiction, flash fiction, and so on—as we are with what compression means to each writer. In other words, what form compression takes in each artist's work will be up to each individual. So writers who think deeply about compression and come to some unique understanding and translation of compression in their work seem to be the writers who resonate with us.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Well, in short, we want to fall in love with a writer's work. That might happen in the way we've fallen in love with work we've previously published, or it might happen in a way we have yet to experience. Maybe reading that other work will help in knowing whether a writer should send his/her work to us, but in truth, such a thing might not be discoverable. So, it's one we fall in love with. How that happens is a bit of a mystery.

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

A: They often submit more than one piece per reading period, forget to include a compression statement as part of the cover letter, submit poetry during prose submission periods, and sometimes submit CNF in the fiction submission manager (and vice versa).

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

A: Our first readings are done "blind," so the cover letter becomes more important as a piece comes closer to being accepted. We just want to get a sense of why a writer chose our journal, why writing in compressed forms is important to that writer, and what a writer has been up to (in a brief third person bio).

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

A: Every piece is read from beginning to end, often by between 6-10 readers during that first reading.

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

A: It first makes it through a first reading by having some LOVE expressed for it; it then moves into a second round discussion room in which each member of the editorial board can express his/her love, concerns, strong objections, and so forth. The final decision is made by the managing editor. We aren't searching for consensus or a majority; instead, we are looking for a number of people expressing a deep, lasting love for the piece. If there are equally strong objections to the piece, then the managing editor has a tough decision to make.

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

A: Each cover letter is read by the managing editor; and then, if the compression statement resonates with him, he sends a request to post the compression statement on the Matter Press Blog with a picture and personal link. The managing editor then assigns the pieces to the staff; the staff reads and votes and comments; the managing editor looks through the submissions for any expression of love. Upon finding it, the managing editor reads the piece and then sends a note to the writer that the piece has moved onto the second round. Discussions ensue and a final decision is made. We average about 1-3 days for first readings; and 3-7 days for pieces that make it to the next round.

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

A: I think electronic submissions is a great way for the Rosemont College MFA students (both degree-candidates and graduates make up the editorial staff) to remain connected to the college beyond graduation and during semester breaks. I also think social networking and blogs are good ways to make the journal and staff part of the literary community.