For this week's feature article, we interviewed Bonnie Bolling, Editor-in-Chief of Verdad Magazine.
Sapling: Verdad defines itself as "a journal of literature and art". Can you tell us a little bit about the process of juxtaposing visual art with pieces of writing within the publication?
Bonnie Bolling: Yes, it is interesting and amazing how well art and literary text co-exist, how they are in conversation with one another. As a journal of 'literature and art' Verdad seeks to push the boundaries each time: meaning the juxtaposition of art and text becomes something new with each issue; an art form in itself, really. The re-invention or change of it occurs naturally each time because, each time of course, our submitters change; we receive an entirely new canvas of art and text to work with--which is what I love about the process.
S: Your website indicates that the editors are looking for "interesting, well-written and previously unpublished poetry, short fiction, memoir, essays and visual art, including illustrations and photographs." Can you tell us a little bit more about the type of writing that that editors are particularly drawn to?
BB: Well, I suppose that sounds a bit general, but intentionally so. We don't wish to limit our content or audience, but rather to enhance the magazine by inviting the very best work a writer or artist might have. I suppose it would be untrue to say that Verdad does not operate within a certain aesthetic. For example, we are not big on genre pieces. Nor on work that seems largely experimental. Unless, of course, it is literary or artful at the same time...mostly something must linger after the reading or viewing of it.
S: When it comes to submissions, do you have any pet peeves?
BB: Pet peeves? Well, I would have to say yes. Here is number one on my list: Submissions that do not follow guidelines. Number two would have to be the long, chatty cover letter. It's not that we don't want to know you, it's just there is so much to read already...
S: What is your favorite thing about your job as the Editor-in-Chief of Verdad?
BB: I love reading submissions: love to see what other writers and artists are 'up to'. I also love accepting pieces from beginning writers. As a writer with a drawerful of decline slips, I also know the joy of finally getting through to an editor. It's hard work.
S: Of all of the pieces of writing that you have published in Verdad, do you have any favorites?
BB: Oh my, how could I choose? Each issue has the favorites for that submission period! There is a nice essay about the work of creative writing, by Chris Buckley. I wish everyone who wants to write would read it.
S: Other than Verdad, what are some of your favorite literary journals?
BB: Pearl, Georgia Review, Southern Review...There are so many great ones and I read from many of them. I especially love to read the older, established journals and study their progression through the years. But the new ones too. There are many gorgeous online journals as well.
S: What are the best books that you've read in 2010?
BB: All the Living-C.E.Morgan, Stealing Fatima-Frank Gaspar, Swan-Mary Oliver, just to name a few...oh, and everything by Cheever.
To find out more about Verdad, visit verdadmagazine.org.
Originally from Evansville, Indiana, Bonnie Bolling now lives in Long Beach, California. She received her MFA from University of California–Riverside and her BA from University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her poems are published in magazines like The Southern Review, The Cortland Review, Pearl, Rattle, The Packinghouse Review and The Apple Valley Review. Her poetry collection, 'Poor White' was runner-up for the Anhinga Poetry Prize. She currently is editor-in-chief of Verdad Magazine, and through no fault of his or of her own, she is related to poet Robert Lowell.
Photo by David A. Lipton