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"It's Experimental." A Chat With Joshua Bohnsack, Managing Editor of TriQuarterly
Editor of one of the nation's leading lit mags takes us behind the scenes
Another interview, everyone!
Today I chatted with Joshua Bohnsack, Managing Editor of TriQuarterly. If you’ve been in the lit mag world at all, then you’ve likely heard of this journal. TriQuarterly was founded in 1958, and is one of the nation’s premier lit mags.
Today Joshua and I discussed the magazine’s origins. Joshua observed that the mag was fairly homogenous in terms of its contributors. I said I could not agree more. Three out of its first eleven contributors were named Richard!
Since that time, the journal has evolved to include a much wider range of writers. Its latest issue focuses on Black Voices. They also seek to include work that is more experimental. Joshua described a preference for writing that has strong imagery and formal innovation. If your latest story is a realist character-driven piece with a traditional structure, this might not be the best home for it. On the other hand, if you’re doing something interesting with time, sequencing and chronology, and/or slipping into elements of the surreal, this could be the place to try. But no gimmicks please! Also, maybe cool it on pandemic-themed stories.
During our chat, my power went out, which is why this interview is in two parts. Joshua was nice enough to stay on and answer questions from the audience, as they waited for me to get my act together.
In the second clip, we talked more about Joshua’s own submission process. People, he has sent out around 200 submissions this year! That is exemplar! He revises according to the type of feedback he gets from editors. And he knows not to take rejections personally or to sweat cover letters too much.
I was moved to hear, in this second part, about his feeling of fatigue. I think most of us are feeling that way these days. We are all juggling a lot. I feel grateful to Joshua for getting real about this. Rest, dear writers and editors. Rest!
TriQuarterly, in spite of its name, publishes two issues per year. They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry and video essays. They are open for submissions now, until December 31st, and then will re-open submissions in March. Response times vary.
Thanks so much to everyone who came out to attend this session. Apologies, once again, for my technological buffoonery. But, as ever, I love seeing your faces!
And thanks so much to Joshua for taking the time to give us a tour behind the scenes of another splendid little magazine.
Reminder: Our next event will be a Submissions Q & A session. This will be on Friday, December 17th at 2pm est. Subscribers only, so if you’d like to attend, go on and hit that red button.
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