Editor Interview: Anomaly
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: From web art to letters
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: Right now, I'm really into tuesday: an art journal, Sous Rature, >kill author, H_NGM_N, Action Yes, and narcolepsy arms.As far as long-standing love affairs go: ubuweb, Diagram, Open City, Jacket, and Rhizome. Fence is probably my favorite, if I had to choose. - Sarah Clark, managing editor;
Other folks on our staff still like some offerings from the old guard, such as the Southern Review, the Kenyon Review and the Paris Review. I'm fond of a number of different kinds of journals myself, like the Virginia Quarterly Review, A Public Space, Cabinet, Canary, Tin House, the Believer, McSweeney's DVD journal Wholphin, born magazine and Ninth Letter. - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: Our favorite fiction writers run the gamut from Michael Cunningham to Carole Maso, with a smattering of José Saramago, Haruki Murakami, E. Annie Proulx, and Zadie Smith thrown in. Our favorite poets are similarly eclectic, from Anne Carson to Sol Williams, from Mark Doty to Jacques Roubaud, from Tomaž Šalamun to Alice Notley, from Charles Bernstein to Charles Wright, from Dara Weir to Ai. - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: Drunken Boat publishes the best of more traditional forms of representation, like poetry, prose and photography, alongside works of art endemic to the medium of the web, like video, sound, web art, hypertext, digital animation and interactive fiction. Part of our primary investment is in new media, in publishing work that uses the internet as constitutive of its compositional strategy, and we also publish archival material that hasn't existed online before. Founded by a visual artist and a poet, the magazine is dedicated to bringing together works in multiple genres to create a new curatorial space where such works might not normally co-exist. We are perhaps the only magazine that has had its contributors featured at the Whitney Biennial, gain a special citation at the Berlin Film Festival, win a PEN/Faulkner award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, perform at Lincoln Center and a wear a sandwich board with their poems written in magic marker block letters outside the West 4th Subway Station in New York City (shout out to Donald Green!). - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Read the magazine, including delving into the archives, and think about how your work might fit in with our aesthetic sensibilities, which are wide-ranging but that stress literary and artistic excellence. We are particularly open to work that does something innovative, that couldn't exist or reach it's full realization in a printed journal, in collaborations between disparate individuals, and in works that are timely but also timeless. - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: A work that has gestated for a long time and arrives fully formed and thought out; something that makes use of the many possibilities inherent in publishing online, incorporating sound, text, moving image, links, and interactivity in way that's not simply ornamental but integral to the very essence of the work in question; work that comes from or engages with the idea of a global arts community, whether that's translation or ethnography; finally, something that might be amenable to being performed at a live event. - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: We get a lot of submissions via email, and we don't take those. My pet peeve are the mass email poetry submissions. You know, the ones that are BCC'd to 100 other editors? It's so lazy! Oh, and anything addressed to "Dear Sir." -Sarah Clark, managing editor
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: Cover letters are instructive in that they let us know a little something about the person submitting work. We're also interested in seeing some of the other places the person has published. But ultimately all of the work is read on its own merits, blind, without the use of any outside recommendation. Where it's useful for us to have a cover letter is where there's some question or uncertainty on the part of our readers (all of whom have graduate degrees) and it helps in the dialogue with our genre editors to know something about the potential contributor's larger project and accomplishments. But again, the excellence of the work is what remains paramount. - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Our Readers engage with the work in its entirety before recommending it be passed on or sent for further review to our Genre Editors. Many times, there will be a lively dialogue between the members of our staff with respect to the merits and flaws of a given piece and most of our editorial decisions are collaborative in nature. - Ravi Shankar, exec. director
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: A piece is read by readers, and then read by our genre editors if it's any good. We encourage both our readers and editors to open up a conversation if they're on the fence about something. There are a lot of pieces that I look at and can't stand, but think "you know, so-and-so would like this" or "do I hate this because I hate anything written in the second person?" So I get feedback from someone else. Sometimes a piece is taken on provisionally -- the readers and editors like it, but it's not quite there. We give some feedback about what could be made stronger (gee, you use the F-word 27 times in your first paragraph!), and if it's up to snuff after revisions, we're happy to publish it. -Sarah Clark, managing editor
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: It's sort of obligatory at this point. Of course we have a Twitter, of course we have a Facebook, of course we take electronic submissions. It's important not to get carried away, though. I've seen a lot of promising journals stylistically flatline trying to update daily content, for instance. I'm against POD publishing options, for the most part. That's tacky. I'd like for DB to come out with a print anthology at some point, though, because I like print media as much as electronic media, and think the marriage of the two is great. It's something I would have liked to have on my shelf when I was first discovered DB. - Sarah Clark, managing editor