You don’t quite have that kind of luxury when you’re existing online. Because everything can just travel so much more quickly. What’s an example? Kenneth Goldsmith doing that conceptual poem based on the autopsy of Michael Brown. He did it at Brown University at a conference. It’s a good example. Just a few years ago, who would have heard about this poem? Who would have found out about what happened except for people who were part of the next physical community? But now I wake up the next day and it’s all over Twitter, it’s all over Facebook. People are tweeting and sharing quotes of what was said and now there are articles being written about it, still. I had someone email me yesterday and ask for comment. It happened months ago and I wasn’t there. I think that shows that things have changed, that dynamic. I think we really have to be more thoughtful.
When I say quality, yes, I mean the quality of the work, the literary merit. But also quality in terms of the thought process. Is diversity present in the work that you’ve published? Both in terms of the identity of the writers as well as the aesthetics? I started noticing things like very prestigious literary journals will only publish writers if they’re from an African heritage or if they are specifically talking about racism. Maybe queer work only appears in a literary journal if they do their queer issue.
SA: What happens to experimentation, then? One of the things I’ve always thought about little magazines — and one of the joys of running this little magazine on the side through these years — is that we’ve published stuff that’s probably regrettable. We’ve published stuff that took a big shot. We published Kenneth Goldsmith, not something that was incendiary like that. But stuff that was formally very avant garde. Or was risquee or carried a really high potential for offense. I think we did so because — one of my thought processes was — we can. We can, if we’re very small, if our prerogative is to be pushing a sort of envelope and it’s not always going to succeed but maybe it’s going to provoke.