Interview with Mary Stone Assistant Editor of Blue Island Review
Mary Stone’s poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in A Clean Well-Lighted Place, Notes Magazine, Mochila, Coal City Review, Amoskeag, Lingerpost, FutureCycle Poetry, Flint Hills Review, North Central Review, Spring Formal, Canvas and other fine journals. In 2011 she received the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award in Poetry. Currently, she is an MFA student at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she teaches English classes and co-edits the Blue Island Review.
URLs (facebook, twitter, ect…): http://blueislandreview.wordpress.com/
EWR: Why was your publication started? What was the original idea behind the magazine?
Stone: Our publication began because Katie Longofono, the editor, wanted to try to connect the University writing community with the community in Lawrence, KS. Soon, the Lawrence writing community appeared much bigger than just focused in Lawrence – spanning to Topeka and St. Joseph, MO – it seems everyone has some kind of connection to this interesting city. Katie has a vision that the journal can help bring these writers together, to meet one another, to forge a real community of writers.
EWR: Who are some authors you are particularly proud have been published in your magazine?
Stone: There are so many awesome writers from the area who we have been lucky to publish: Amy Ash, Ben Cartwright, Mickey Cesar (also a Blue Island editor), Mark Hennessy, Meg Thompson, Leah Sewell, Dennis Etzel, JR, and others.
EWR: What advice would you give your writers trying to publish with your magazine?
Stone: One, I think it’s really important to read our guidelines carefully. Also, just because we are a Kansas regional mag doesn’t mean we only want poems about Kansas and grain bins – though if it’s a good Kansas poem, we will most likely take it – mostly we are looking for any poem that speaks to us on an emotional level. We like writing that pays a lot of attention to the sounds and that evokes powerful and evocative imagery.
EWR: What important changes do you see happening in writing right now?
Stone: I think with technology changing and literary journals fast becoming online only, that writing is going to change in the next few years somehow – though I can’t really picture it. I am beginning to think that it might not be a bad thing, though. Maybe this is going to offer more writing and literature to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it.
EWR: As the editor can you describe the role you play at your magazine?
Stone: As a co-editor, I help with reading submissions, scoring, and fighting over the ones I really think should go in the mag. Besides that, I also do a lot of PR – advertising our magazine and our call for submissions. I also write the blog on wordpress, offering up writing prompts and beautiful poems for anyone who is interested in following.
EWR: What upcoming projects would you like to tell our readers about?
Stone: So far there are none.
EWR: What personal projects would you like to share with our readers?
Stone: I am always working on something. My goal is to write a poem a day, though that doesn’t always happen and often only one poem a week ends up staying with me. I am working on my first full-length poetry collection this summer.
EWR: Is there anything that has surprised you about editing a literary magazine?
Stone: I always figured it would be harder than it is. But it’s not really. I mean, deadlines are always insane, but when it comes down to it – reading poetry and getting new writers on the page is pretty awesome.
EWR: What advice can you give to editors who would like to start their own literary publication?
Stone: I would say to make your website look very professional – even if you have to use a free one. Respond to emails as quickly as possible. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s hard for a person who is submitting to feel like the editors are unavailable. We should be there ready to help and answer any questions. And as quickly as possible.
Also, know what you like and be willing to fight for it.
EWR: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Upcoming from you or your magazine?
Stone: Not at the moment – we are looking forward to reading submissions over the summer. You have until July 15.