Friday Feature: Interview with Rebecca Ligon
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 Rebecca Ligon, Editor in Chief of Rubbertop Review.
What style of work do you prefer, if any?
I’m personally open to most any style of work, but I do appreciate experimental work.
What other literary magazines do you admire?
What can a writer do to increase chances of being accepted?
If you’re sending out simultaneous submissions, keep track of where you send your work, and if you receive an acceptance, send withdrawals to the other publications as soon as possible. It’s okay to want to celebrate! It’s exciting! But you don’t want to leave editors in a difficult position by sending them a late withdrawal notice. You want to leave people with a positive impression of you and your work in case you decide to submit to them again later on.
Also, try not to overthink what you send. By all means, send what you consider to be your best work. But if your heart is telling you YES and your brain is telling you NO, maybe because your work is more experimental, or you feel like the poem won’t be appreciated, listen to that YES and just do it. Even if your work isn’t accepted, you’re putting yourself out there, and that’s important.
What do you feel makes your journal distinctive?
I think our current editorial staff has a wide variety of preferences when it comes to style and content, so it’s interesting to see what they choose to accept for an issue. I think we’re distinctive in that our only firm criteria is that we select what we consider the best work for publication. We might have two very different aesthetics running simultaneously in one issue. I find that unexpectedness and variety compelling.
What types of submissions are on your wish list?
We would love to receive — and publish — more creative nonfiction submissions. We think it’s a fascinating genre, and while we receive at least 70-80 fiction and poetry submissions per reading period, we don’t receive nearly as many nonfiction submissions.
What made you want to be an editor?
While I’m passionate about writing, I’m equally passionate about reading. Editing gives me the opportunity to read the work of writers from all over the world and open my mind to new ideas. It’s always interesting to see what people care about, what they’re preoccupied with, what they’re trying to accomplish through their work.
What kind of things do you write?
Lately, I’ve been working on a series of persona poems. Some of them appeared in my graduate thesis, but I’m trying to expand them into a chapbook-length manuscript. I usually write about relationships and their strangeness and complexity.
Where did you get the name of your magazine?
Rubbertop Review is a tribute to The Akros Review, which was a previous publication of the University of Akron. It’s also a tribute to Akron and the Rustbelt.
What inspired your aesthetic?
For our last few issues, we’ve been aesthetically inspired by the city. Our cover art reflects that. Content-wise, we’re all over the place, but we typically gravitate towards work that explores an emotional truth in a fresh and unexpected way.
What do you hope to accomplish with your magazine?
We hope to publish the best work we can and inspire more people to read, and write, and submit their own work. If someone picks up one of our issues and reads something and feels inspired to read more or sit down and write something of their own, I feel we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.
Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.