Friday Feature: Interview with Jenn Monroe
Each week, the editors of Jenny Magazine sit down with either fellow literary magazine editors or past Jenny contributors for short interviews. This week’s interview is with Jenn Monroe, Editor in Chief of Extract(s).
What style of work do you prefer, if any?
For us it is about poems and stories that stick with us, that make us stop and think when we first read them, and are still spinning around in our heads and hearts long after. We don’t usually publish “genre” fiction, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t if someone sent us a piece that really resonated with our editors. We’ve been accused of having an “obsession with death,” but I think that we have been fortunate to have been sent pieces that tackle the darker aspects of human existence with beauty and authenticity. We like courage. We like writers who are willing to take a risk.
What other literary magazines do you admire?
There are so many I’m not sure I even know where to begin. Radius Lit is consistently amazing. NonBinary Review is using a new platform and publishes gorgeous issues. Big Lucks always packs their issues with so many terrific, energetic voices. All three are run by writers I admire and respect a great deal, so it is no surprise these come up first for me.
What can a writer do to increase chances of being accepted?
Read the blog. Sincerely. There is no better way to find out what we dig than by reading what we’ve already published. This, of course, is the first rule of sending out work, right? Do your research.
What do you feel makes your journal distinctive?
We publish something new Monday-Friday every week of the year — mostly. I don’t think there are many journals/editors foolish enough to take on that kind of project.
What types of submissions are on your wish list?
We would love to get more work from people of color and from LGBTQ writers. We would like to get more submissions from writers in other countries. We want the blog to make people think about many issues from as many perspectives as we can find. I am always grateful when a writer sends work to us, and I try to make sure I say so, even if we are declining a piece.
What made you want to be an editor?
I’m a poet and a teacher, but also a HUGE fan of great writers. I wanted to play a part in getting great voices out into the world. I wanted to connect wonderful people to other wonderful people. I wanted to help build a community where people support one another, instead of being in competition with one another.
What kind of things do you write?
I write poems about relationships, mostly, my own with my family and friends, with nature, with the world. I write poems about love and loss and doubt and grief. I write about birds. I write blog posts about becoming a mom after age 40 and trying to figure out how that is supposed to work.
Where did you get the name of your magazine?
We knew we wanted to play on the idea of getting a small bite, a small sampling, every day at our blog. That grew into the idea of a “daily dose,” that reading great writing is great medicine, and from there we came up with Extract(s).
What inspired your aesthetic?
When this started we (co-founder Christopher J. Anderson and I) were teaching at a funky little creative arts college in New Hampshire that had a young faculty and a vibrant visiting writer series. We also had both recently finished our MFAs, and were excited about the contemporary writers we had spent time studying and studying with. We recently expanded the editorial staff to keep that aesthetic fresh and eclectic.
What do you hope to accomplish with your magazine?
I want to use it to build community. I want it to be a launch pad for new and emerging writers. I want it to be a home that our contributors feel welcome to return to (many have). I want it to be a place readers know they can find great pieces of literature that will make them think and feel and connect.
Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.