The Next Big Thing: Sally Wen Mao

photo by Van Nguyen

photo by Van Nguyen

 

All of us at Indiana Review would like to congratulate contributor Sally Wen Mao on winning the 2012 Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books! Her poem, “The White-Haired Girl,” appears in issue 34.2. Here’s her installment in The Next Big Thing interview series which is currently sweeping the internet.

 

Thank you to Michael Mlekoday, author of the forthcoming book of poems The Dead Eat Everything, out from the Kent State University Press, for tagging me in this series called The Next Big Thing! Also a big thanks for publishing this on the Indiana Review blog, because I am an internet dummy.

What is the working title of the book?

Mad Honey Symposium.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Poetry books usually come from entire constellations of ideas. Here are some of the most pervasive ones, for me:

1. When researching names for an angry third world feminist girl band in 2007, I stumbled upon the fact that honey badgers aim for the scrotums when attacking larger animals.

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Live Blog: Poetry Selection Meeting, 2/1/13

Here on the blog we’ve previously discussed how we select pieces for inclusion in Indiana Review, but in the spirit of transparency, I thought it would be fun to give you all a closer look into how we select content—by live-blogging a poetry selection meeting! Meetings typically last at least two hours, so in an effort to make this, you know, approachable, I’ve cut things down a bit; be sure to check the time markers for how long we spend discussing each poem. We give every submission its due, but if a poem makes it this far in the process, we will take all the time it needs for a thorough reading.

Even this guy wouldn't be bored at our poetry meetings!

Even this guy wouldn’t be bored at our poetry meetings!

In the spirit of professionalism, I have relabeled our staff by acronyms: E for our Editor, AE for our Associate Editor, PE for our Poetry Editor, R# for our nine readers, and WE for me. The poems are sorted into packets; P2P1, for example, would be the first poem in the second packet.

This particular meeting occurred last Friday, a few days before the Super Bowl (which we do not have comments on…). Poems needed to receive seven votes for publication. Enjoy!

6:20 p.m.: Settling in. We’ve got Hershey’s kisses and Upland Wheat Ale (the beverage of choice on Parks and Recreation!) and blue tortilla chips and salsa and chocolate chip cookies and wine!

6:21: The coat rack fell over! Because R1 put one too many coats on it. Which knocked over a glass of water! Which got all over the WE’s pants! Commotion ensues!

6:24: WE is finally approaching dry. Small talk. Discussion over the creation of a new editorial position. Tentative title: “Furniture Editor.” Responsibilities will include selecting furniture and who may sit on it.

6:28: PE calls the meeting to order. There are five packets left over from the last meeting, and we’ll start with those. R1 is holding the first packet of poems. Now, eerily quiet by comparison.

6:29: R1 reads P1P1.

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When is a Short Story Too Long?

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I’ve always been fond of Edgar Allen Poe’s description of the short story as a work of fiction that can be read in a single sitting. I like that Poe defines the short story form largely by focusing on the reader’s interaction with the text, and I like that he places a time limit on this interaction—a single sitting.

I think most readers would agree that they begin a short story with the understanding that, barring any outside interruptions, they won’t need a bookmark to get to the end. For editors, however, the idea that a short story should be read in a single sitting raises an important question: How long are readers willing to sit with a story? Half an hour? An hour? Three hours? Read more…

Behind the Blue Light: How Contests Work

'The way you hear it, is the way you sing it.' Jan Steen, circa 1665.

‘The way you hear it, is the way you sing it.’ Jan Steen, circa 1665.

Huzzah! Indiana Review’s annual poetry prize is open for submissions! You have until April 1 to submit your poetry, but before you do, I thought it my duty as Associate Editor to—lift the velvet rope, pull back the papyrus curtain, turn the glossy cover, lead you by the hand “behind the Blue Light”—reveal How Contests Work.

You submit a packet of three poems to Poetry Contest 2013. What happens next?

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IR’s 2013 Poetry Prize: We’re Open for Submissions!

Have you heard? Indiana Review‘s annual Poetry Prize is officially open for submissions! This year’s judge is National Book Award Winner Nikky Finney. You can find guidelines here.

Last year’s prize-winning poem, “The Sublime,”written by Joshua Gottlieb-Miller and selected by Dean Young, is featured in our most recent issue, 34.2, which can be ordered here.

All submissions are considered for publication. So, round up your prize-worthy poems and send them our way!