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Friday Feature: Interview with Edward A. Dougherty

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 Edward A. Dougherty, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

My first publications happened when I was in my 20s, back in the 1980s, after I graduated from undergraduate school. One that stands out was photocopied with poems and stories all jammed together; there was very little white space. The other poems were rhyming generalities. The language didn’t feel distinctive or polished. Frankly, I was a little embarrassed to be in that company, and that’s why I don’t name the journal or give other details.

What inspired your piece in the Jenny?

Primarily, I write poetry and find writing personal essays difficult, although I love lyrical essays like the title piece in Scott Russell Sanders book The Force of Spirit or “Rain and Rhinoceros” in Thomas Merton’s Raids on the Unspeakable. And so, I keep trying.

My essay “The Memorial Chain” recounts an attempt to pass along stories from one sibling to another to remember our father around the 20th anniversary of his death. It led me to consider and reconsider incidents with my dad and which one felt emblematic enough to tell one of my brothers or sisters when they called.

What got you into writing?

What got me into writing was a desire to be understood. What keeps me writing is a desire to honor my own experience and to create communion.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

The lyrical moment, both in life and in good writing, is continually rewarding. These moments seem larger than whatever time they take to live, seem more meaningful than the story of what happened can convey, and more pleasurable — even when painful — than I deserve. Any essay, fiction, or poetry that honors such moments in language that is charged with the same energy is my preference.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

Like favorite music, it depends on my mood, my need. If I want rich and complex language, I go to Charles Wright, Gerard Manly Hopkins, Robert Hayden, or Carolyn Forche. If I want language as clear as glass so I can see the world through it, I go to Japanese haiku or W.S. Merwin or Denise Levertov or Naomi Shahab Nye. If I want mythic largeness, I might go to Galway Kinnell or Bridget Pegeen Kelly. If I need life and language concentrated to essentials, I return to Margaret Gibson and Eamon Grennan. Many of these writers span my artificial categories and nourish more than one aspect of my spirit.

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

One high point was seeing my essay referred to in a book about Denise Levertov, who I had written a fan letter to and she responded. I count her as a mentor though I never took a class or workshop with her.

Another notable experience was at AWP, feeling like a guest at someone else’s party, only to realize that my decades of independent work had put me in the conversation. I presented as part of a panel and attended a session that I realized I could have given. It was thrilling to sense my own growth and to feel at home in the community.

How has your writing developed over time?

In so many ways, it’s hard to answer. One thing does stand out, though: I spend years and years honing imagery, both my perception and my use of language. My revision process was a matter of stripping down, chiseling the bulk of words and phrases to only the most essential and evocative ones. Then, after my first two books were out, I realized that I was becoming interested in enriching the language with repetition, musical phrasing but looped and deflected. This then returned me to the essential inner/outer experience of the speaker, which could be embodied in many kinds of language, which led me to a variety of forms, lengths, and styles.

Are you currently working on anything?

I believe in working on many things at once, so that I can be generating or revising or assembling collections or whatever I have the energy and time for. My current projects are researching the creative process through reading and interviews. I’m also working on longish poems that are “talkier” than anything I’ve done, which makes me nervous and excited. I call them Discursions.

What’s your writing process?

I hand write poems, but prose I go right for the keyboard. I use cheap, recycled paper notebooks, and I fill them, following William Stafford’s advice in “A Way of Writing.” This means I write a lot of junk, but I believe it is a way of cherishing the uniqueness of my experience — events, impressions, knots of language. It’s like gathering shells on a beach. A useless collection, perhaps, but a great way to spend a few hours.

What are you currently reading?

Margaret Gibson’s forthcoming collection Ask Hereclitus.

Have you ever co-written something with another author? If so, what was that experience like?

I co-wrote a book of exercises with Scott Minar called Double Bloom: Exercises for Poets. We both teach inductively; that is, we have students write and then we process it, making whatever points from the experience and work students have. The process of gathering our own idiosyncratic exercises and then refining the progression so that a class or writing group could use them was actually great fun. We respect each other, maintain a sense of humor, and share a common goal. I am very proud of that book.

Have you ever worked with a medium other than writing? Or collaborated with someone in another medium with your writing?

I have collaborated with a composer, Will Wickham, on a project that resulted in a multidisciplinary show or choral and instrumental music as well as poems read by a single actor. It’s called Where Sacred Waters Divide, and one of the presentations is available on YouTube. (You have to hear Rose read the hell out of a piece around 51 mins into it. It’s about a woman who is at the firehouse when her father calls in that his truck is being caught up in the flood; he was killed and she lives with that moment all her life.)

The experience of writing poems on a theme (water) and on a deadline (2-3 months) only worked because Will is remarkably gifted, enthusiastic, and creative. I felt utter freedom to explore all kinds of dramatic monologues, lyrical descriptions, and other approaches, knowing that Will would find kernels to work with. That a whole chapbook came from it was just a bonus!

I also created “emblems” which are a short poem with an image. Mine are abstract paintings, rather than the traditional illustration of a saying or moral, so I was updating the form a little. My process was to create hundreds of these 3 x 3 images and meanwhile I wrote over a hundred poems of 3-7 lines, completely independent of each other. Combining them was a whole other process, one that stalled me many times. Finally, I moved quickly and intuitively, dealing out the images on black cardboard and just choosing what I responded to — fast, without thought, without planning regarding the poems. I did the same with the poems, revising as I did. Then, in several rounds, again quickly, quickly, I brought them together. Trying them on, in a sense. They were ultimately displayed at the Atrium Gallery in Corning, NY and again at the Word & Image Gallery in Treadwell, NY, and individual emblems are appearing in journals.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

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Friday Feature: Interview with Fabiyas M.V.

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 Fabiyas M.V., a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

I was first published in a regional magazine in Kerala, India in 1986; I was 12 years old. The poem was about nature. I still remember those heavenly inspired moments with wonder.

What inspired your piece in the Jenny?

“From Gaza” was inspired by the cruel massacre of innocent women and children in Gaza.

What got you into writing?

I got into writing through genetic influence, inspiration, and burning experience in my life.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

I like poetry; I prefer to write free verse.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

The greatest influence in my life is my dad M.V. Alikutty, who was a writer in Malayalam language. My favorite writers are William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Pearl S Buck, and Robert Frost.

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

It was when my book Kanoli Kaleidoscope was published by US publisher PunksWritePoemsPress.

How has your writing developed over time?

I know I’ve steadily progressed from the immature to the mature, acquiring depth and variety.

Are you currently working on anything?

Yes: I am giving finishing touches to my first book of short fiction.

What’s your writing process?

I scribble what flows spontaneously out of my mind, and I arrange them in order later, giving finishing touches.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Literary Hatchet Issue 14.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

Friday Feature: Interview with Syntax & Salt

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 Ani King, editor in chief of Syntax & Salt: Stories, A Journal of Magical Realism.

What style of work do you prefer, if any?

While I think we have pretty eclectic tastes at Syntax & Salt, we definitely lean towards literary works with a strong, defined voice. Ken Liu, Catherynne Valente, Kelly Link, Karen Russell, Nnedi Okorafor, Isabel Allende, to name a very few, are among some of our overall favorites who have incredible flexibility with their tone and style.

What other literary magazines do you admire?

This is bound to be an incredibly long list, but in particular I love publications that always manage to attract and publish the unique or surprising. I try to read a variety: well-established publications like Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Apex, Fairy Tale Review, and Tor.com; equally wonderful magazines that are still on the road becoming more well known, such as Strangelet, Axolotl, Sick Lit, Spilled Milk, or Inklette. There’s so much out there to admire, with the ability to easily set up online now.

What can a writer do to increase chances of being accepted?

Following submission guidelines is always a plus, but also taking the extra time to make sure a story is really ready to be submitted. Get critical feedback — often there are small plot holes that another reader might catch. Make sure characters have agency and purpose and don’t exist merely as a story device. Bend the rules, throw away old tired tropes.

What do you feel makes your journal distinctive?

We strive for an array of voices and styles, rather than intentionally looking for an issue theme. I believe in the two issues we’ve put out there is at least one story for most readers to love, if not more. I hope too that the art is visually arresting.

What types of submissions are on your wish list?

I would love to see much, much more work from underrepresented communities, particularly women of color, LGBTQA writers, and stories from differently-abled persons. I believe that the literary community as a whole has an obligation to provide a place for these voices to be heard, and to eschew accepting stories that instead fetishize or appropriate from these groups.

What made you want to be an editor?

It wasn’t something I expected to happen, but in the case of Syntax & Salt, it happened I think because the magazine was my baby, and when the incredible group of writers that I run it with sat down to talk through it, likely the deciding factor was my deep control freak nature.

In all seriousness though, I really enjoy the detail work involved: layout and site design, working with the authors to make sure we’ve got everything right, choosing or creating the art, and enthusiastically promoting the work we feature. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the world’s greatest managing editor (Hi, Chelsea!), and the best readers who love magical realism.

What kind of things do you write?

For the most part I write short speculative fiction. I enjoy experimental forms and flash fiction quite a bit, though I’ve been turning my hand to poetry and plotting some longer works. I always have at least ten plates in the air, and I’m hoping to complete a collection of short stories this year that will stay together.

Where did you get the name of your magazine?

I’m a very prose-driven reader, and I think that syntax, like salt, can be the difference between a bland read, or a perfectly seasoned one.

What inspired your aesthetic?

The whole S&S staff and I have been in a writing group together for almost two years, and we found ourselves driven to read and write a lot of magical realism. At some point we realized that the next natural step was to provide a home for others to do the same.

What do you hope to accomplish with your magazine?

I aim to publish excellent stories and provide a home for the new, the weird, the old reimagined, and for first time authors, to give them a great experience in submitting and working through the editorial process.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

Friday Feature: Interview with James E. Guin

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 James E. Guin, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

A flash fiction piece called “The Sun Fallen” about our early ancestors. An ancient aliens type of story, it was in the E-zine Free Flash Fiction on September 25, 2012. Free Flash Fiction was free to the public and free for the writers-no payment. I was nearing forty. The E-zine closed sometime in 2013. Even though a couple of my writer friends said that I was wasting my time and my writing by not receiving payment, it felt great. I sold my first piece in May of 2013 and made my first professional sale to Daily Science Fiction in December of 2013.

What inspired your pieces in the Jenny?

“Anila, the Wind, and the Sea” began as a contest entry for Enchanted Spark: Photo Flare Contest. The contest involved writing a piece inspired by three photos. Photo one was a statue of a dancing girl, photo two was a windmill, and photo three was seashells on a beach.

What got you into writing?

Between 2007 and 2010, I majored in English Education at Kennesaw State University. I was required to take a class that taught middle and high school students how to write creative nonfiction. Until that point in my life I had written only research papers. After reading my essays about my assorted jobs and bizarre life experiences, the teacher encouraged me to “get published.” Four years later, I did.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

I prefer speculative fiction. My life is filled with facts and reality, so why not “speculate” from time to time.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

My favorite authors and influences are: Kevin J. Anderson, The Bible, Ray Bradbury, Kate Chopin, Bob Dylan, Bret Easton Ellis, Jed Guin, June Guin, Joe Haldeman, Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert, Lui Cixin, Cormac McCarthy, Ngugi Wa Thiong’O, Charles Portis, John Steinbeck, Peter Watts…

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

Winning second place in the Jenny Magazine Speculative Contest: Spring 2015, of course.

How has your writing developed over time?

I am a little better than when I started a few years ago. This fall or spring, I plan on taking writing classes at a nearby university.

Are you currently working on anything?

Over the past few months I have been working on a story that started out as a flash fiction piece then transformed into a book, and now I am condensing it into a short story 16,000 to 17,000 words. A few years ago when I first started writing my wife had an idea for a book, and I have spent more time with it this year than when she initially presented it to me.

What’s your writing process?

Through out the day, sounds and sights spark story ideas. Someone opens the car door to a black, dented up, 1994 Toyota Corolla, a sentence pops into my head, and then a paragraph, 1,000 words to 5,000 words, etc. Next I read, edit, research, read, edit… Ideally I let it sit for a month or two and then back to read, edit, research, read, edit… At some point, I send it to a market for publication, and the rest of my time is spent receiving rejection emails.

What are you currently reading?

Hyperion by Dan Simmons and L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of The Future Volume 31. I’m waiting for Death’s End to come out later this year. It is from Lui Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past Trilogy: The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End.

Have you ever co-written something with another author? If so, what was that experience like?

Not yet, but I would love to someday.

Have you ever worked with a medium other than writing? Or collaborated with someone in another medium with your writing?

Although I have held many jobs, I am a musician by trade. I would have never been able to attend college without music and the majority of my income over the past twenty years has involved music-teaching, performing, arranging. 

Thus far, my approach to writing has been through my understanding of music. I start with an idea, which in music could be called a theme. The idea is developed through the media of words, sentences, paragraphs, and into pages. Obviously, the musical theme consists of notes, timbre, and rhythm. The theme is developed in many ways such as changing the rhythms, adding or shifting harmonies above or below the theme, adding notes to the theme, introducing new themes, and so many other techniques. Character development is essential to writing just as style and voice are crucial to the successful musician. For me the process is similar to composing music.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

Friday Feature: Interview with Daniel Davis

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 Daniel Davis, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

It was a short story called “Dry Spell,” published in Eastown Fiction in August, 2009. Same week as my birthday, actually. It was my second accepted story, a coming of age piece set during the Dust Bowl. I was 23, living on my own for the first time, and getting ready to start grad school. So I was pretty stoked. I remember the editors worked with me on it; there was a character who seemed integral to the plot when I wrote it, but ended up getting weeded out altogether, and the story was far stronger for it. Taught me the value of collaboration from the get-go.

What inspired your piece in the Jenny?

“Flyover State” came from a favorite childhood memory: the smell of cornfields on an August night. I assume cornfields. Could be something else entirely. I just remember smelling it at the county fair every summer. Now, combine that with meth, because my county had a serious meth problem at one point in time, and it’s been steadily making a comeback. Along with heroin, because nothing’s ever simple.

What got you into writing?

Other writers. I’ve always told stories, either to myself or others; can’t remember a time I didn’t. I come from a reading family, so it was just natural for me to surround myself with books. Around 5th grade, I read a Goosebumps book about a boy who took pride in writing stories. I thought, “Hey, I do that already; maybe if I do it more, people might like me!” As all writers know, the results of that deduction were hit-and-miss.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

I’m all over the board genre-wise. Most of my writing I classify as “blue collar fiction,” with an emphasis on the darker side of things. But I’ve written (and continue to write) horror, science fiction, and westerns, plus weird stuff that’s hard to classify. I do poetry on occasion, and usually it’s either dark or humorous (or, in glorious moments of absolute perfection, humorously dark). And by humorous, I mean by my standards. Which are pretty low.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

I’m heavily influenced by where I’m from: rural East-Central Illinois, surrounded by corn and soybean fields. The glacier stopped along here, however long ago that was, and just a few miles south of town, the flat land gives way to hills and forests. It’s a blue collar region, but my town is also a college town, which sort of makes it the best of both worlds.

As for writers: Stephen King pretty much got it going for me. I started around age 11 or 12, and I’m still a huge fan. Along the way, I picked up Raymond Carver, the undisputed King of Short Fiction. In college, a friend and I went to see No Country for Old Men, which subsequently introduced me to Cormac McCarthy. I can still remember the first story I wrote after reading McCarthy; somehow I managed to get it published eventually, but it’s a straight-up McCarthy imitation. I weeded a lot of that out (I hope), but he’s still the biggest influence on me.

Movies, too. The Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, David Cronenberg. You get the gist. Mel Brooks, because you gotta throw a curveball. (Baseball is a recent love of mine, too, and I’ve found myself writing about it frequently. Americana at its finest.) Also a lot of singer/songwriters I turned onto in high school and still devour: Mellencamp, Springsteen, Kristofferson, Tom Waits. The good ones.

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

I had a weird little flash piece that doesn’t have much in the way of plot, and revolves more around imagery. Really unlike most of my stuff. I sent it to a journal, and the editor responded a day later saying he didn’t think it was right for him. A few hours after that, I received another email from him, stating he hadn’t been able to get the story out of his head, and figured that meant he should accept it, after all, if I was willing. I, um, was.

How has your writing developed over time?

I started out wanting to be a horror writer; blame the King and R.L. Stine. I still write horror fairly regularly, but it’s much more literary (I have a hard time getting some of it published, because it’s not horror enough for genre journals, and too genre for literary mags). But I’ve incorporated the dark vibe of horror into literary fiction. Honestly, I still feel I’m trying to find my voice. And I hope I never find it; I hope my writing stays explorative until I can’t write anymore.

Are you currently working on anything?

Not particularly. I have a couple of novel ideas, but they aren’t fleshed out enough. I spit out a short story now and then, however, and a poem or song on the side. I’ve got a collection out to a couple publishers, and another about ready to throw into the ether. Keep writing, whatever it is. That’s the goal.

What’s your writing process?

I mainly write at night, maybe because I have a full-time job, though I’ve always been more comfortable after dark. I write in spurts; if I’m writing a short story, I’ll finish it in one or two sittings usually, then come back to it in a couple weeks and work it over. I have to step away; it helps me see the flaws. When I fall in love, I fall in love hard, and blindly.

What are you currently reading?

Insomnia by Stephen King. This interview made me nostalgic, and I haven’t read this one for a few years. Usually, I’ve got a random book, fiction or nonfiction, that I’m in the middle of. I have dozens of books stacked on my bookshelves that I haven’t read yet. I’m afraid to count them. I may have a problem.

Have you ever co-written something with another author? If so, what was that experience like?

Outside of all those group papers in college (that I did most of the writing on)? Nah. My writing is…mine. I compare it to cooking: I love food other people cook, and I’ll look at others’ recipes to get an idea of what to cook. But the meal I eventually make is my own. Whatever I do, I want it to be mine. I understand and enjoy collaborations that work well, and don’t rule out ever doing it, but at this point in what you can call my career, it’s almost anathema to what I do. If I put my name on it, I want it to be mine. 100%. “Good, bad, or indifferent,” as John Mellencamp sings.

Have you ever worked with a medium other than writing? Or collaborated with someone in another medium with your writing?

As a kid, I drew a little comic I called The Human Condition that was basically a The Far Side rip-off. The world doesn’t miss it, trust me, except maybe as evidence that I was a twisted little child.

I wrote a lot of songs in high school and college. I play guitar and keyboard (and a little banjo and mandolin, once upon a time), and have had a couple of people cover my songs online. It was a fascinating experience, having someone else reinterpret my work.

I’m the Nonfiction Editor for The Prompt Literary Magazine, a journal started by some grad school friends of mine. The cover of the first issue is a picture I took of a pigeon in my apartment hallway. I went uncredited, but I can still claim to be a published photographer, as well. Let’s all hope this is merely a footnote in my artistic endeavors.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

Friday Feature: Interview with Ace Boggess

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 Ace Boggess, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

1991. I was 19. I had a short poem published in a little Canadian horror magazine called Lost. It was photocopied, black and white, saddle-stapled. I doubt anyone saw it, but it was all excitement for me.

What inspired your pieces in the Jenny?

With “Where Does the Night Lead?” the question itself was the inspiration. For more than a decade now I’ve been writing these poems based on questions I mine from any possible source. Answering them as verse takes me on journeys that I can’t anticipate.

The inspiration for “Montana” was a bit different. I wanted to write about a mythical paradise, and I chose Montana (a state to which I’ve not traveled) because, well, a couple of things in the poem are true. Or, at least, I’ve heard them said aloud. It seemed to me some folks already view Montana as a mythical paradise. Why not?

What got you into writing?

Severe social anxiety and a love for books.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

I’ve always thought of myself as a novelist. I’ve written many novel-length manuscripts over the years (the first of which, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming in October from Hyperborea Publishing). Still, it has been a struggle to find homes for them. My poems, however, are vagabonds sleeping on whatever couches they can.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

With poetry, the big ones would be Lehman, Zagajewski, Strand, and probably throw in a little Neruda. I’ve been obsessed with all four at one point or another. But there have been so many. I read any poetry collection or journal I can get my hands on. For prose, I like to think that if Hesse, Camus, Burroughs, and Jim Morrison all sat around a campfire telling stories, THAT would be the novel I’d want to write.

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

Hopefully still to come. So far though, I’d have to say the acceptance of my second poetry book, The Prisoners. It came on the same day I made it out of the penitentiary, so that’s a pretty significant day for me.

How has your writing developed over time?

I’d like to think it has become more precise. “Precise” — that’s a good word. I’ll go with that.

Are you currently working on anything?

I’m always working on something. Poetry, mostly. A few short stories here and there. What I’m most focused on are the two books I have forthcoming: the novel I mentioned before and my third poetry book, tentatively titled Ultra-Deep Field, that Brick Road Poetry Press will release in the near future. Plus, I’m still trying to find publishers for my other novel and poetry manuscripts. There are many, and I keep shopping them around.

What’s your writing process?

It’s not particularly interesting. I make coffee. I smoke a cigarette. Then I read until I’m ready to write. As soon as I put the book down, I pick up the pen.

What are you currently reading?

For poetry, Rita Mae Reese’s The Alphabet Conspiracy; for a novel, Stephanie Dickinson’s Love Highway; and some volume of Best American Short Stories (2012, I think).

Have you ever co-written something with another author? If so, what was that experience like?

Yes, I wrote two short stories with writer Jennifer Lynn Hall, which you can find in Heavy Feather Review and Canadian journal All Rights Reserved.  That was a long time ago. It was a lot of fun, but there were a bunch of drugs involved. I don’t know that I’d be able to do that again.

Have you ever worked with a medium other than writing? Or collaborated with someone in another medium with your writing?

My first year in college, I wrote lyrics for a metal band. I loved that. I’d do that again in a second. But that was the start of the ’90s. Oh, well.

Ace Boggess’ poetry can be found in Issue 8 and Issue 10 of Jenny Magazine.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.

Friday Feature: Interview with Dylan Sanders

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 Dylan Sanders, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.

Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?

My first publication was on a blog called Poet’s Haven in February 2015. The piece was called “Mark of the Young,” which was a poem I had been rewriting since college about a friend who died in a drunk driving accident.

What inspired your piece in the Jenny?

I wrote “I Kill Myself Days at a Time” because I’m tired of seeing poetry about the beauty or the artistic side of depression. I wanted to make something blunt that really expressed how I felt as a person who goes through the daily thought process of “What if I killed myself right now?”

What got you into writing?

I’ve been into writing since I was young because I read all the time — like Lord of the Rings for class in 8th grade all the time. I guess this is one of those stereotypical things where the reading nurtured the writing, and I had the right people supporting me when I would show them my work.

What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?

As fun as I find poetry, I think my true love will always be in fiction. And I prefer works that are quick to get to the point, quick to tell jokes, but aren’t afraid to take a step back and analyze themselves seriously every once in awhile.

What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?

I have a lot of musical influences, but in terms of writers, two of my favorites would have to be Craig Clevenger and Hemingway.

What’s your proudest moment as an author?

The proudest moment would have to be when I heard that my chapbook, Skull Kids, was selected for publishing by Bronze Man Books.

How has your writing developed over time?

It developed the same way most do, I guess. It started out super angsty and “real” like most college-age Bukowski wannabe garbage. Then I started to open up and get more comfortable experimenting with the abstract and bizarre until I found my niche.

Are you currently working on anything?

I’m sitting on a pile of close to 100 poems that need a good home; it gets expensive feeding all of them so if you know someone who wants to adopt let me know. Also I enjoy starting novels and never getting past the halfway point.

What’s your writing process?

Super unhealthy amounts of alcohol. I’m kind of kidding, but my process definitely involves shutting myself off from the rest of the world, putting on some appropriate music and making sure the damn Chrome browser is closed.

What are you currently reading?

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.

Have you ever co-written something with another author? If so, what was that experience like?

Yes. It was a lot of me writing stuff for her to give feedback on and her not having the time to reciprocate any work. Very one sided and short lived.

Have you ever worked with a medium other than writing? Or collaborated with someone in another medium with your writing?

I used to draw a lot, and I’ve really been interested in learning how to use Fruityloops or something to make some music.


Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.