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Editor Interview: Permafrost Magazine

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

A: Boundary-crushers

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

A: We love the innovation of the Normal School and the pointedness of Brevity. DIAGRAM is also one of our favorites. Plume excites us and McSweeney's makes us hot. Pleiades inspires us and we read Tin House, too!

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

A: B.J. Hollars, Dinty Moore, Doug Kearney, Jeanette Winterson, Angela Carter, David Foster Wallace, John Berryman, C.D. Wright, Karen Russell

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

A: Our magazine is frozen to forty below to condense and preserve the writing within. Most of our staff live without running water, and so literature is our only creature comfort. We read huddled around bonfires, on moose hunts, and in outhouses. These things are actually true, so we're not looking for writing about that. We want things that get us hot and bothered from around the world.

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

A: Submit the things that excite you. We love to see work that is surprising and substantial. We want things that will feed us: nurturing, warm and tasty.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: See above.

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

A: They send us Alaska stuff. They send us snail mail. They put their names on their submissions (We prefer to read blind!).

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

A: We read anonymously because we want to really see the writing -- no name, no credits ahead of time.

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

A: All of our submissions are read by three readers before they get to each genre editor. All of our readers and editors come together at the pub to drink local brews and make the final decisions about what speaks to us as a whole staff and what doesn't. This thoughtful consensus is part of what makes our journal unique.

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

A: As editor, my role is really just bringing the staff together. This is no one-woman magazine. It takes a lot of people to make this magazine and to put quality work out into the world. For me, a day in the life of an editor is thinking about what would make the publication better and who on our staff is best suited to do that job. It's a constant collaboration.

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

A: It's important for people to be conscientious about the possibilities of technologies and how they can make it work for them. This is especially relevant in publishing because technology is all about how our audience will interact with the work. Permafrost magazine puts out both a print publication and an online issue because we believe that both are valuable. There's no substitute for holding a beautiful magazine in your hands, but there are also things that you can do with new technologies that you can't do on the page. Our latest online issue is a particularly good example of this. We made a Choose Your Own Adventure Issue, allowing readers to navigate and engage with the work in different ways than they might have done on the page.