Posts Tagged: Interviews

Inside IR: Meet Associate Editor Katie Moulton

As Indiana Review‘s Associate Editor and a fiction writer in Indiana University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, Katie Moulton  has a lot on her plate. Luckily, she has proven herself more than worthy of the job. Even though one of my favorite things to do is fake-fire her on a daily basis, I do not know what I’d do without her insight, enthusiasm, deejay skills, and knack for writing literary journal-themed parodies of popular songs (more about that later). Whether she’s investigating grammar’s nitty-gritty nuances, answering emails with great aplomb, or figuring out other editorial-esque things, Katie Moulton makes the Indiana Review office a smarter, sassier, and generally wonderful place to be.

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Vievee Francis: Coming to the “I”

Vievee at breakfast with IR staff and friends in Bloomington this past April

Vievee Francis is one of those poets who is often described as ‘visionary.’ Her poetry is deep and rich and so strong, and as a fiction writer I feel pretty inadequate trying to describe it. I was amazed to discover, when I sat down and spoke with Vievee in Bloomington (when she was in town for the 2nd Annual Blue Light Reading this past spring), that her voice in conversation is as complex, thoughtful, and passionate as it is in her poetry. You can hear the audio of our interview on The Bluecast page (forthcoming!), or read it below.

 

Vievee Francis: My name is Vievee Francis, I’m a poet, I live in the city of Hamtrammack, which is a small town—2.2 square miles—in Michigan, completely surrounded by the city of Detroit.

Rachel Lyon: Your poems have a distinct relationship to both city and a rural or country sort of landscape. Can you talk about landscape in your poetry a little?

VF: Landscape plays a strong role in my poetry. I’m from Texas originally—from West Texas, but I’ve also lived in East Texas off and on through my early childhood—but then, I’ve lived in cities as well—Atlanta, Detroit. And I think the play, back and forth, between the rustic and the urban, as well as what is Southwestern or Southern and what is Northern, those are always being juxtaposed in my work.

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Roxane Gay: Where There’s Wit, and Also Darkness

From her gut-wrenching short stories to her incisive humor pieces to her no-bullshit cultural criticism, Roxane Gay is a writer who writes in many forms, all brilliantly. I was lucky to get to sit down with her when she came to Bloomington for IR‘s 2nd Annual Blue Light Reading. You can hear our long-form interview on The Bluecast (forthcoming!), or read it below.

Roxane Gay: I’m going to take a picture. I take pictures of everything, so don’t be alarmed.

My name is Roxane Gay. I’m a writer, and an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University.

Rachel Lyon: Can you describe your work a little bit?

RG: I’m a Libra, so I like a little bit of everything, so I write a little bit of everything. So I’m always just trying to write things that will move people in some form or fashion, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction.

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“New writers to shake us and take us out to sea”

I’d like to introduce you to IR‘s dynamite new staff: Jennifer Luebbers takes the helm as Editor, and Katie Moulton is Associate Editor, Joe Hiland is Fiction Editor, Michael Mlekoday is Poetry Editor, Justin Wolfe is Nonfiction Editor, and Doug Paul Case is our first-ever Web Editor. I’m sad to leave my post, but I’m absolutely thrilled about the incoming team. I can’t wait to see what’s next for IR—it’s going to be a phenomenal year.

 

1. Why are literary journals significant?

MM: Tons of reasons! Literary journals are the vanguards of literature—they are where readers and writers first meet up, where our community comes together. Without journals, we’re just a bunch of rugged individualists, carrying only our own poems and stories and essays with us. Then we’re just landlocked, because it takes more than one branch to build a boat. Is that true? I don’t know. The great variety of journals being made and read right now means we can always find new inspiration, new writers to shake us and take us out to sea.

JW: I don’t know.  In historical terms, I can understand their importance, but in terms of right now, I’m really not actually sure?  I know that, in my experience, IR has been an important center to our literary community in Bloomington, but outside of that, I can’t say much else.  I’m sure former and future editors will be able to mount a rousing case for the continued cultural relevance of the literary journal, but I come from a blogging background and have, since I’ve been familiar with them, been resistant to what I perceive as the insularity of little magazines, the walled garden effect.  One of the reasons that I’ve taken this position is to try to break down or at least inform that resistance of mine, to better understand what a magazine like IR really does and what it means to our larger literary culture.  In other words: hopefully I’ll have a better answer this time next year?

DPC: Because they’re the future! It seems like everyone is bemoaning the death of literary journals, but while print might be fading, there are many, many online journals thriving and doing the same things literary magazines have always been doing: showing us the future of literature. Find me an important poet or story writer who wasn’t published first in a literary journal and I will buy you a cookie. If you’re interested in the trajectory of literature, you should be reading journals.

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“What it is that moves and thrums”

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.

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