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"We've Been Open to the Writers." A Chat with Paula Deitz, Editor of The Hudson Review
Editor of 75-year-old lit mag takes us behind the scenes
Good day, my friends. Another editor interview is in the books!
Today I had the delight of speaking with Paula Deitz, Editor of The Hudson Review. This magazine
is a quarterly magazine of literature and the arts published in New York City. Frederick Morgan, one of its founding editors, edited the magazine for its first fifty years. Paula Deitz has been the editor since 1998.
…The magazine serves as a major forum for the work of new writers and for the exploration of new developments in literature and the arts. It has a distinguished record of publishing little-known or undiscovered writers, many of whom have become major literary figures. Each issue contains a wide range of material including: poetry, fiction, essays on literary and cultural topics, book reviews, reports from abroad, and chronicles covering film, theatre, dance, music and art. The Hudson Review is distributed in twenty-five countries.
Today Paula took us through the history of the journal, which was quite the ride. The magazine began with a group of poets based in Princeton in 1939. They recruited other poets at the time to come participate, some of whom then went to fight in WWII. They were told that if they lived and returned home, they should develop the literary magazine. That is exactly what they did.
Hudson Review is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The magazine’s longevity is actually not surprising when you hear Paula discuss the journal and her work there. Her passion for the journal, her love of discovering new writers, her excitement over publishing work from around the world and her real delight in learning new things from the work that is submitted, were all on display throughout the interview.
A fact that surprised me, and which will happily surprise many, is that Hudson Review is dedicated to finding new writers. Except for special theme issues dedicated to work from abroad, everything that is published in the magazine comes from open submissions. (Paula does occasionally reach out to writers she admires to encourage them to send something, but such work is not always accepted. She relies on the “slush pile” to fill each issue.)
This magazine is not affiliated with any university or organization. How, I asked, has it stayed afloat for so long? Paula described a wonderful business model, whereby the magazine has established various outreach programs in schools throughout New York and New Jersey. Writers in the Schools puts the magazine into the hands of school students, ensures teachers teach material from the magazine, gets Hudson Review writers to come to classrooms and talk about their work, and puts the magazine in a position to apply for grants from various funding organizations like the NEA.
In terms of the magazine’s editorial process, these editors are pretty hands-on. Paula is the nonfiction editor. All nonfiction submissions go straight to her. If she likes a work, she will pass it on to advisory editors for additional opinions. The process is the same for the other genres. Sometimes they ask for revisions, but work must be “A” quality before it makes the cut.
And just what makes a piece “A” quality? Paula says she looks for “originality, clarity and elegance.” She also looks for good grammar! What takes a story from “B+” to “A”? What is that certain something?
For that, my dears, you will have to watch the video. Paula shared so many wonderful insights here about what she likes to see in submissions, what she specifically wants to see more of, as well as a splash of European history and her own history as an author and journalist. Her dedication to this magazine and to its authors was nothing short of inspiring.
Hudson Review is open at different periods for different genres. They receive about 1,500 fiction submissions per year and publish 8 stories. They receive about 200 poetry submissions and 100 essays.
They are actively seeking book reviewers. If you would like to get involved as a reviewer, Paula also shared insights into the type of criticism they seek to publish.
To everyone who came out to join today’s discussion, thank you for tuning in! Your faces are the daffodils of my day!
And, of course, thank you to Paula for taking the time to take us behind the scenes of another important little magazine.
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