At the IR Editors Showcase, we were presented with some challenging, excellent questions. I asked our outgoing and incoming genre editors to respond, and I’ve corralled their answers for you. Today, we have Fiction Editor Rachel Lyon, Poetry Editor Cate Lycurgus, and Nonfiction Editor Sarah Suksiri!
1. Why are literary journals significant?
RL: I think the most meaningful thing to me about lit journals is that they’re a way of forming community without necessarily sharing a space. We can read the work of other writers, and feel close to them, and participate in the dialogues that interest us with people whose work we respect, without being in the same city or state or country. Plus, because they are curated by editors who know something about what’s going on in their field, the quality of work tends to be higher.
CL: Literary publications are a testament to the power of the imagination and the power of language, both of which are undervalued, yet necessary parts of our lives–in order to innovate, to make sense of the nonsensical, to connect with others, to provide wonder or surprise or consolation or astonishment. Literary journals have the potential to find this expression and to share it.
SS: Journals are significant, because they make us keep asking this question. Seriously, what other line of work and craft is there where the participants keep asking themselves, “Is anything that we’re doing relevant?” The fact that we (journals) are so concerned with what it is that moves and thrums in the world is part of what makes us relevant.