Blue Mountain Review January 2022

Page 46

Interview with

Malaika king albrecht By: Lynne Kemen Tell us about Red-Headed Stepchild, a very unusual poetry journal. 13 years ago, Deborah Blakely Averill, a good friend and wonderful writer, and I wanted to start a literary magazine. She and I both had similar backgrounds: teenagers in the 80s, part of the punk rock scene, really big on thrift stores, repurposing, DIY own style. Originally, we didn’t think of rejects. And, then at some point, I said we should only do rejects-like dumpster diving for poetry. It is the essence of what our aesthetics, our beliefs are. We have always loved the outsiders, the dark horse, the things that people pass on. I’m in recovery, and that’s a huge part of that aesthetic, as well. (Averill died in 2018). We got a ton of submissions when we opened. It shocked me how much it resonated. Poets and rejection go together like peas and carrots.

What is your acceptance rate? It’s so competitive now that we pass on 97% because I have set the limit at 13-18 poems. We only do it twice a year. We have open submissions in August and in February.

Who else is working with you? Rob Vance was one of my friends in grad school. He and I had worked together on the print journal Old Dominion Review, so I knew that he was a very diligent editor, and he reads voraciously, and I love that. So, I asked Rob to step in. Caleb Beissert, our third editor, is out in Ashville, NC and he runs open mic, does translations, a really keen mind. I like having a multitude of editors with different aesthetics. I like the fact that you can’t say RSC prefers narrative poems or wouldn’t take a haiku or isn’t open to Avant Garde stuff because having a magazine with three different editors means that we can have an issue with very different poems in it. Our only criteria when we’re working together is that 2 out of 3 of the editors have to agree on the same poem.

Who are your favorite poets? We have so many fabulous poets writing masterful work nowadays. Writing brave and courageous poetry. I think of Brian Turner’s “Here, Bullet,” and it’s so skillfully done. You want to ask, “How did you do that”? That is a perfect damn poem, and I have often said, “Read this” to my combat veteran friends. Some are people that would not read a poem to save their life. One friend said, “that guy has eaten the same dirt as me!”



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.