(Eds. note: Interstitial March continues as we bring you an interview with Rose Lemberg, creator of Stone Telling, a magazine of poetry that challenges boundaries of both genre and subject matter.)
What is Stone Telling and why did you create it?
Stone Telling is a magazine of boundary-crossing poetry. I created Stone Telling because I wanted to edit a risk-taking speculative poetry venue. I felt that the most innovative, daring, painful poems often have hard time finding a home; and following some debates in the speculative poetry field, I also wanted to put emphasis on work that is diverse, multicultural, and — yes — literary. I want Stone Telling poems to be thought-provoking and inspiring for people who are devoted to speculative literature as a whole, either as readers or writers, or both. Most of the pieces I showcase are speculative, though some are not. For example, Peer Dudda’s “Train Go Sorry” in the first issue is not speculative, but many readers wrote that it was their favorite poem in that issue. I am not sure what other magazine would have showcased a video poem that is bilingual in English/ASL.
Has being interstitial (i.e. creating a project that falls outside recognized genre and marketing categories) created difficulties for you? If so, how?
I wouldn’t call them difficulties per se, but because I am doing something relatively new and unusual, people often don’t know what to send. Also, I think, it will take time before people will let themselves write daring, “unmarketable” stuff. For example, so far I received three visual poems (two of which I considered closely), and I’m yet to feature one, even though I ask for visual poems. On the other hand, mermaid poetry seems to land in my inbox with surprising regularity. I can envision a world in which an English-Arabic bilingual poem shaped like a mermaid would be boundary-crossing enough for me to showcase, but so far, no luck.
What strategies have you used to get around this?
I post long posts on Livejournal, talking about what I’m after. I talk to poets online. I try to encourage people whose work came close for me. I send rewrite requests. At the end of the day, Stone Telling issues are great for helping people figure out what I want.
What advice would you give to another interstitial artist in a similar position?
I’m not sure what I would tell a fellow interstitial editor, because they all seem much more knowledgeable than me, and have been doing this longer. I deeply appreciate the work IAF is doing to promote interstitiality. That’s not exactly advice, though. As a writer, I hope that more editors – and writers – will take risks, produce and showcase work that is unusual, that represents odd or marginalized viewpoints, that speaks out of deep and hurtful places – in short, work that makes the readers think and feel, work that remains meaningful after many rereadings.
If you could change one thing about the situation, what would it be?
As an editor, I prioritize meaning over marketability. Still, if I could change one thing, more people would donate to Stone Telling. Donations could help support both the poetry and the non-fiction we showcase. We don’t need a lot, but we received almost no donations lately, which makes everything harder.
Rose Lemberg is an immigrant from three different countries. Right now she lives in the Midwest, where she works as a professor of Nostalgic and Marginal Studies at a large research university. Rose’s short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, GUD Magazine, and other venues, and was recently reprinted in People of the Book: A decade of Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her poetry has appeared in Abyss and Apex, Goblin Fruit, GUD, Jabberwocky, and Mythic Delirium, among other venues, and has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. She edits Stone Telling (http://stonetelling.com), a new magazine of boundary-crossing poetry. Rose can be found online at http://roselemberg.net.
|Meet the IAF: Emily Wagner||Questioning and investigating form: an interview with artist Andrea Kleine|