Welcome to our new Literary Mama blog series: Craft Talks. In this bi-monthly post, we’ll have a mini-interview with our own editors about craft, what they look for in submissions, and all things writing.
Today, I talked with Rudri Bhatt Patel, Reviews Editor at Literary Mama. She told me about Naomi Shihab Nye, understanding what it means to be human, and what makes for a really good book review.
1. Tell us about yourself and your position at Literary Mama.
I am a former attorney turned writer and editor. I am the co-founder and co-editor of the nonprofit literary journal, The Sunlight Press. Also, I am a freelancer with publications in The Washington Post, Business Insider, Saveur, Civil Eats, and other national and local publications. Here at Literary Mama, I am one of two editors for the Reviews section. Prior to this role, I was the social media editor and blog editor. I’ve learned from my LM colleagues about writing and editing. For more information on my work, you can take a look at my website, www.rudribhattpatel.com.
2. Is there a passage, sentence, or line of a poem that you absolutely adore? Why is it so good?
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
This opening line in “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye captures the true definition of what it is to be kind. The entire poem is a moving reflection of loss, sorrow, and a depth of understanding of what it means to be human. I revisit this poem often as a way to remind myself of the fragility of humanity.
3. What do you look for in submissions? What type of writing grabs your attention?
For reviews, we look for a concise and explorative analysis of work. What is working in the narrative? How does the reviewer distill the work and incorporate key passages in the review? As outlined in our submission guidelines, “we’d like to see reviews that consider craft as well as content. For example, you may want to comment on literary style; use of literary elements such as metaphor, symbolism, narrative structure, narrative flow, cohesion, and development; use of example and illustration; and appeal to the intended audience.”
Read something you liked? Let us know in the comments!