Welcome to 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 Kristen Mulrooney, Creative Nonfiction and Fiction Editorial Assistant. She told me about Mary Oliver and the delight of reading unexpected submissions.
1. Tell us about yourself and your position at Literary Mama.
I have an MA in Writing and Literature. I used to teach English and writing at the high school and college levels, but now I’m home raising my kids and writing whenever I get the chance. My humor and satire has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Weekly Humorist, and The Belladonna, among others. This year I joined Literary Mama as the Editorial Assistant for the Fiction and Creative Nonfiction departments.
2. Is there a passage, sentence, or line of a poem that you absolutely adore? Why is it so good?
The end of Mary Oliver’s “In Blackwater Woods” has been my favorite line of anything since I first read it fifteen years ago.
To live in this world
you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
The words are simple and accessible, but the way she puts them together is so elegant. I love the gravity of the first two requirements versus the breezy “let it go” at the end. It’s such a powerful way to end a poem.
3. What do you look for in submissions? What type of writing grabs your attention?
It’s always fun to see something presented in an unexpected way. As a recent example, Becky Tuch’s “The Making of Guernica: Artist Notes from Pablo Picasso, Stay-at-Home Dad” in our latest issue was a delightful surprise. She tells a story of Pablo Picasso trying to paint Guernica while raising his kids and it’s such a unique way to present the trials of being a working or creative parent/mother. I love to read something and think, “wow, I never in my life would have thought of this.”
Read something you liked? Let us know in the comments!