Editor’s Letter – Week of September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015

Dear Intrepid Readers,

This week is your official “Happy Autumnal Equinox” week—we figured there’s no harm in celebrating the shift in seasons twice. And this week, besides ushering in the official beginning of fall, we also welcomed the brand-new issue of NonBinary Review, Issue #6: 1001 Arabian Nights! This week also kicked off the accompanying Arabian Nights online Alphanumeric features—in case you missed this week’s debut piece, click on over to Alphanumeric and enjoy Robert Borski’s poem, “Forty Thieves.”

Yeah, we know you're excited for 1001 Arabian Nights. We are, too!
The cover art by MANDEM is worth the download all by itself!

With each theme we select for our NBR issues, we face new learning curves in assembling the issue, from thematic issues to challenges in our unique digital reading platform, and these learning curves (though sometimes quite steep) make us better editors in the long run. This issue challenged us in a way no previous issue had: as editors who are dedicated to parity representation in our issues, it is important to us that our themes represent global literature, not only the Western Canon. And our authors responded to this theme in a way that we could never have anticipated—the zeitgeist of each issue of NBR is always determined by our authors, who respond to these classic literary texts with their attention turned towards the core issues that continue to be relevant in modern life. I noted in my preface to the issue that 1001 Arabian Nights isn’t exactly the kind of text that makes the word “feminism” immediately spring to mind, and yet—that’s exactly what our group of NBR6 and Alphanumeric authors homed in on in their treatment of the work. We’ve got several strong essays that use close readings of the source text to discuss the ways in which femininity is addressed throughout the stories, as well as an abundance of poetry and fiction that actively seeks out symmetry in the stories, and we couldn’t be happier about the strong showing of not only strong feminist writers who contributed to this issue, but also to the ally authors who showed up in force to help dismantle the gender binaries of the source text and embrace the lyricism of the work without embracing the problematic issues. With each issue’s curation and publication, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the caliber of our core audience and our loyal troupe of contributing authors.

9.25.1Speaking of our contributing authors, we love to turn the spotlight towards the people who make each issue distinctive. With this issue’s unofficial theme being the treatment of the feminine in 1001 Arabian Nights, we’d like to turn your attention towards NBR6 contributor Purvi Shah. Purvi is co-creator the collaborative story “Mirrored Women,” with co-author Anjali Deshmuth. This week, Purvi was also a guest writer for VIDA: her article, “The Unbearable (White) Maleness of Poetry,” was a timely, insightful, and balanced look at the world of publication, parity, and a de-fictionalization of “racial nepotism” as it understood by (white male) poets. In her article, Purvi addresses two recent hot button issues in the independent literary community—the concept of “racial nepotism” and gender inequality in literary publication—and does a little myth busting of her own, providing hard numbers and statistical data to debunk some of the sweeping generalizations used as straw man arguments when discussing the publishing inequalities with regard to racial representation, gender equality, and LGBTQ voices. In her article, Purvi demonstrates the same fiery resolve and deftness of language that attracted our readers to her fiction—we’re thrilled, as ever, to see our authors not only contributing creatively to the larger literary discussion, but actively being the change they want to see in that discussion.

FB Cover Banner Group

Already read Purvi’s story and want to tell her how amazing it was, without seeming like a Facebook creeper? We’ve got you covered. In addition to our Facebook page, which updates daily with links to fresh online content for your reading pleasure, we’ve created a Facebook group for our readers, editors, authors, bloggers and reviewers to engage with each other on a personal level. Are you a reader who’s also got a book you’d like to have reviewed at our Rhizomatic Ideas page? Post a query in the Facebook group, and connect with one of our book reviewers. Have an idea for a blog? Pitch it in the group! Is there a theme you’d like to have us consider for a future issue? Post it in the group and see if there are others who’d be interested in that theme, too. Is there a piece from a previous issue that you just loved? Tell the author—we’ve created the Facebook group to break down that invisible wall that exists between writer/editor/reader. After all, we exist together on an artistic continuum, so it seems natural for us to provide a forum where our readers and writers can feel like they’re part of the same community (because you are.)

Before we sign off this week, we also wanted to remind you that we’re still open for submissions—we keep our reading windows open and rolling so your creativity never has to be on hold. Right now, we’re still open for our (Wilkie Collins) Woman in White issue, our (Sun Tzu) Art of War issue, and our last round of stories for Unbound Octavo. We are always looking for guest bloggers and book reviewers, so if either of those things appeal to you, drop us a line or just send us a book review. We also wanted to take a moment to clarify the themes for the two open issues: for The Woman in White, we’re specifically looking for work that deals with the Wilkie Collins novel, The Woman in White—the novel is a mystery/sensation novel (touches upon the literary gothic) that is also regarded to be one of the first detective novels. For this issue, all submissions must integrate at least one of the characters of the novel, utilize the plot of the novel to expand the story or incorporate a new element, or thematically mirror the novel in that it addresses the disadvantageous position of married women in law—either in a historical context, or in a modern context. We’ve received a large number of submissions, which, though lovely, aren’t suited for the issue, which only address a “woman in white” in the general thematic iconography: white as it relates to purity/virginity, white as it relates to wedding attire, white as it relates to a ghostly spectre, etc. While each of these themes is interesting, they’re not linked to our source material. Check over the plot, characters and theme overview of The Woman in White, and make sure your piece fits the theme. Likewise—our Art of War issue doesn’t mean that any story that incorporates “war” is a fit. We’re specifically interested in work that addresses one of the 13 aspects of warfare outlined in Sun Tzu’s military treatise. There’s more flexibility with this work, so we look forward to a variety of ways in which these “aspects of war” can be treated by authors in poets: love, business, ecology. If you can connect a “war” to one of Sun Tsu’s 13 aspects of engagement, we’re eager to read your work.
So, as I do each week, I’m going to close with how you can become part of the Zoetic Press community of readers, supporters, authors, bloggers, reviewers, and editors. Of course, we’d love you to start by reading what we’ve produced to date: Download our app for iPhone or iPad and enjoy each issue of NonBinary Review, completely free. You read that right. Free. How many places can you really get something for the low price of nothing anymore? We give you all SIX issues of NonBinary Review, PLUS our Alice in Wonderland anthology, AND the Strangely-Browne Affair—all completely FREE. Because we’re nice lie that, and you looked like you might need something to read. And now you can both follow us on Facebook (Zoetic Press, Lithomobilus), and engage with us through the Zoetic Press Facebook group. Both Facebook forums provide daily links to read new blogs, book reviews and Alphanumeric features! We’re also on Twitter (@ZoeticPress and @Lithomobilus), and you can even see some of our authors reading their work on our YouTube channel. If you’re interested in hearing more from us, sign up for our monthly newsletter. We’re serious about your privacy, and promise not to flood your inbox. Want to be a guest writer for Rhizomatic Ideas, or to profile one of our contributors? Send us a pitch at blog@zoeticpress.com. Have a book you’d like to tell the world about, or know a writer that everyone should know? Send us your reviews and author interviews! We also have a huge folder of ARC books and chapbooks that we can give you—again, for FREE—provided that you write up a short review of the title. How great are free books?

Until next week,

Allie Marini
Managing Editor