Who wouldn’t love good ol’ printed literary journals that give a dose of nostalgia, and make you want to thumb thorough their pages and inhale the smell of the paper. We just got our hands on the debut issue of beautiful biannual The Atlas Review, created in Brooklyn (largely in Bushwick). Issue #1 featured poetry by Eileen Myles, fiction by Jacob Mercer and visual art by Brett Rees, among others. On March 15, 2013, The Atlas Review opened their submissions process again in preparation for their issue #2. We took this opportunity and talk about the publication with its contributing editor Dolan Morgan.
1. What is The Atlas Review and how did it come about?
The Atlas Review is a biannual print affair publishing essays, fiction, poetry, visual art and interviews. We stand by a unique editorial process that mingles anonymous submissions and solicited material. This enables us to: 1) afford a unique platform for new and/or under-known writers based solely on the quality of their work, and 2) provide a fresh dialog for established writers and artists. To put this in context, our first issue includes work by the legendary Eileen Myles, and an interview with George Saunders, alongside multiple pieces by first-time authors.
The magazine emerged from nothingness into everythingness when founders Natalie Eilbert and Jillian Kuzma longed for a space where readers and writers could escape the limits of prescribed communities. We think it’s working.
2. Are you looking for anything particular in the submissions?
Our guidelines page handles the basics – word count, file format, etc. Beyond that, the answer is horribly vague: we want well crafted work that offers something new/vital. I can say that our conversations often circle around 1) the strength of individual sentence/line work, 2) compelling forms/structures employed beyond gimmickry, and 3) plots that develop quickly without devolving into familiar tropes. The best way to get a sense of what we’re looking for, though, is to simply grab up an issue from our site.
3. How does it feel to publish an actual physical publication?
Ironically, the founders both have professional backgrounds producing e-books, but the choice to create a print journal is not merely a reaction to changing times. Rather, working with print affords us the chance to create a beautiful object, not just a reading experience. Our designer, Jay Demetillo, immaculately lays the pages out (you can get a sense of his work outside the magazine over here) and we’re proud to say the cover is one more example of an anonymous submission.
4. Any shout-outs?
Our event coordinator, poet Monica McClure, also runs the monthly Atlas Reading Series in conjunction with the magazine. It happens every second Wednesday at 61 Local in Brooklyn. The series is unique in that it pairs writers with visual artists. These artists (Chris Uphues, Bianca Stone, and many others) interpret the writing, and that interpretation is projected throughout the event. If you want to get a sense of what we’re about, it’s a great way to meet the editors and get a look at the magazine. Otherwise, grab up an issue!