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.
1. Tell us about yourself and your position at Literary Mama.
I’m a single mama of an 8-year old and a professor at Central Connecticut State. I serve as Publisher at LM. The main goal of the Publisher is to facilitate the overall vision of LM through streamlining across our many departments and to then consider how to recruit and maintain our community of readers and writers. We’ve also become a nonprofit organization due to the hard work of our Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editors, and one of my goals is to support that work. I love how multifaceted we are as a group of mama writers devoted to honoring the texture of parenting. And I love how our Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editors strive to make meaningful connections across our diverse departments.
2. Is there a passage, sentence, or line of a poem that you absolutely adore? Why is it so good?
Before you know what kindnessreally is,you must lose things,feel the future dissolve in a momentlike salt in a weakened broth.
This is the beginning of Naomi Shihab Nye’s moving poem, “Kindness.” There’s a deftness between abstraction and image in this poem. Few poems can pull off this kind of direct ethical lesson, but this one does, and it gets me every time. It’s probably because Naomi Shihab Nye’s work so often feels like an uplifting thread, deeply connecting present and visceral moments with the weight of history and pain. And I guess I need that. For me, this poem’s maintained killer status for years.
3. What do you look for in submissions? What type of writing grabs your attention?
I don’t do the patient and fruitful work of selecting and editing submissions for Literary Mama, but I’ve loved many of our published pieces. I love careful language that surprises me as a reader and a perspective that verifies just how much children are a mystery no matter how much we try to contain them in developmental boxes. Alexa Doran does this so well here in our most recent issue. There’s also such a weirdness to motherhood, even as, from the outside, it seems mundane. I immediately think of a 2019 story by LaToya Jordan that captures this weirdness through form and in postpartum meditation. So, I like the kind of writing about motherhood that says, “Look here. This is some weird, interesting shit.” This doesn’t even begin to capture the variety of work we publish, including creative nonfiction, literary reflections, profiles, reviews, and, of course, our blog.
Read something you liked? Let us know in the comments!