people on Facebook, I saw the eagle eyes turning to Poetry magazine, ‘fuck you how could you do this?’ I was like, I don’t know, I think that’s wonderful as a historical text. Don probably made these decisions before that happened. But he did what I think we actually need more of which is moving all of these elements into the same room. They need to be in the same room as these conversations and we have to engage them.
SA: How are you going to approach risk, as a literary editor who theoretically is going to have a pretty big audience?
SJ: I’m terrified. I’m aware. All these cautionary tales exist. ‘It seemed like a great idea at the time.’ For me, I just keep going back to the concept of substantive diversity. It’s not just a checklist. ‘Is there Latino poet?’ It’s more complicated than that. Part of that has to be the diversity of the aesthetic. Every short story. Every lyric essay that we publish in the magazine should not look and act upon the reader in the same way. Should not. The beauty will be when you bring that contrast together and the reader has the opportunity to see these unexpected connections between wildly different styles. Or an emerging author paired right next to a New York Times bestselling author. I think that’s really, really beautiful but difficult to pull off.
It’s this dance between not being an asshole and also not being timid. And recognizing it’s possible to take risks and to experiment without being hurtful. I do think that’s possible.