That’s part of it. The other part is: I’m already interested in finding ways to act upon conversations and ideas. I’ve been thinking obsessively about diversity at every point of the pipeline of publishing. It’s about our newsrooms. It’s about the editors. It’s about the books that are being published. It’s about the people responsible for the books being published. It starts at the mastheads at these literary magazines and the work that is being published. As I’ve been thinking about this more clearly, I’ve been going through the mastheads of literary magazines that I love and really respect and it’s amazing to see the stark lack of diversity and how that translates into the work that’s published. In the end, my goal is to create a literary magazine that’s in sync with how we live, and diversity is a part of that.
SA: What are some magazines that inspired you and fostered you as a young writer and how did you come to access those at the time?
SJ: The Paris Review was really important when I was a college student. I think I stumbled upon it. This is so me, but at the time I was looking for everything I could find, any interview, with Toni Morrison. Lo and behold, here’s this long-form interview and I couldn’t believe it. I had never in my life at that point seen a long-form interview. I keep going and I see there’s an entire fucking archive! And it’s free! It changed my life. In some ways it was the equivalent of getting another degree. The amount of information and knowledge that I was able to access. It blew me away. I think it’s so powerful and beautiful that they have this archive. I know you’ve been thinking about that with this issue of Wag’s Revue. It’s an important historical and communal text that we can keep returning to.
Then I started looking at the kinds of poetry magazines and literary magazines that I wanted my own work to appear in. I’ve really always admired Blackbird, which is out of Charlottesville.