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New Lit on the Block :: The Greyhound Journal

In word association, if I say “bus,” I’m sure “Greyhound” would be among the top responses, and it would be spot-on for introducing this new, history-oriented journal of text and audiovisual poetry and prose. Publishing biannually online with a regularly updated “Featured” column, The Greyhound Journal was originally created to open more spaces for literary dialogue revolving around history and to increase the accessibility of history through narrative. “Our founding mission,” the editors assert, “is to promote the exploration of history through creative work and literature.”

Time as Beauty

Editor-in-Chief Bella Zhou [pictured] explains the name connection, “I first encountered the image of the Greyhound bus while reading Allen Ginsberg, and it kept coming back to me, in books and films about the past. Though authors liked to write about their characters boarding a Greyhound bus and leaving the city, just as quickly, the Greyhound bus became Americana – a collective memory of the lost American landscape. So, too, the intricacies of our world today, the ephemeral little quirks and details, will one day become memory. Greyhound: an icon for something that no longer exists. However, that reality was once so beautiful, vibrant, that vestiges of it exist in our reality, little nods and tacit understandings across time. We would like to interrogate our personal and communal histories to uncover truths about the past and present. Greyhound is an extension of this message: the passage of time is beautiful.”

Breadth of Expertise

Joining Zhou is a masthead of collective expertise with Justine Tioco, editor/reader for English prose. Tioco is a rising senior from Vancouver, Canada, with ethnic heritage from the Philippines. She has hosted many legal conferences and is interested in political history. Andy Zhang, editor/reader for English and Mandarin poetry, is a university student based in China and California whose poetry has been recognized by the Kenyon Review. Sally He, editor/reader for Mandarin poetry, is a student from Shanghai and an alum of the Inscape Program who specializes in ancient Chinese poetry. And Melody Ding, editor/reader for English poetry, is a student based in Beijing who enjoys Latin and Borges.

This skilled team of editors work cooperatively to manage submissions, which are uploaded to a database and assigned to a reader based on specialization and availability. Zhou explains, “Editors may choose whether they would like to read a manuscript or if they would like to pass on the opportunity. They are asked to assign the manuscript a preliminary decision of acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection. They will then give the piece a numerical rating out of 10 for its overall strength according to our editorial rubric. If the manuscript is marked ‘Reject’, editors are asked to state a one-sentence justification for the rejection. The Editor-in-Chief and Operating Editor will then review the pieces marked with ‘Accept’ or ‘Conditionally Accept’ and either confirm the previous decision or send the piece back and assign it to a different editor for a second opinion.

“If a request for feedback is clearly outlined in the cover letter, the submission will be flagged, and its assigned editor will be asked to write feedback as they see fit. Our response time varies with editor availability and the language of submission but will only vary between 3 days and 1 month.”

Emerging Writers Welcome

New writers are often attracted to new publications, and Zhou encourages this. “We frequently publish emerging voices and have constituted the first publication for two or three of our authors. Stating that you are an emerging voice allows us to better contextualize your authorship. The ‘Featured’ column specifically is less selective than issues. Some of the work published with us that we enjoyed the most were written by factory workers and entry-level employees in the Global South, so feel welcome to submit regardless of educational level.”

Narrative Cohesion for Readers

Readers coming to The Greyhound Journal will find themed issues as well as the “Featured” column. “In our themed issues,” Zhou says, “one quality editors specifically look for in submissions is overall adherence to the theme and cohesion with other pieces, so readers can expect issues to have an overall logic and narrative cohesion. Another aspect to expect is a focus on chronology and a strong, sophisticated historical voice emerging from all the work we publish. One last consideration is to expect the issue to look good – as we spend quite a lot of time pinning down the aesthetics and puzzling out the visuals of the issue. Expect a lot of color and decorative elements.”

Indeed, the publication features stylized graphics to compliment the content, presenting historical content in an intellectually attractive container, motivating readers to want to investigate their own country’s history. The Greyhound Journal can help readers and writers see the literary potential in their own back yard, and provide teachers with a model of contemporary historical writing for use in the classroom.

Some recent contributors to The Greyhound Journal that readers can enjoy discovering are Isra Hassan, 浩原, 王嘉辰, C.G. Dominguez, Jonathan Fletcher, Iris Cai, 青与, Benjamin Bowers, Francesca Leader, 兔草, and Louis Faber.

Taking Time to Forge Ahead

Forging ahead with The Greyhound Journal, Zhou reflects on the start-up learning curve. “One of the most important things for me was not to be too hasty with making decisions for creative work. Subjectivity plays such a big part in decision making between our editors, as we are all coming from drastically different living backgrounds and experiences. Though submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, it has become more and more important for us to take our time before making final decisions on manuscripts. Carrying out debates between editors and voting on or synthesizing numerical ratings have often led to more fruitful results than immediately approving an editor’s preliminary decision. We have definitely lost valuable work through giving out quick rejections, which is why one of our guidelines is to read twice before making judgment.”

Building a strong foundation is what makes or breaks a publication, and The Greyhound Journal has some firmly developed future plans to build upon. “We would definitely like to continue making themed issues with print copies mailed out to contributors,” Zhou shares. “A future goal would be to increase our print as well as digital audience through further promotion on different social media platforms. A secondary goal is to expand the geographical scope of our publication to become more accommodating for multicultural perspectives on history, and to increase the amount of Mandarin work published from diasporic authors.”

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