Buy a broadside; plant a tree.
I can’t imagine a more unique approach to both printing poetry to share with the world and planting trees to renew the planet. It is the creative genius of Under a Warm Green Linden, an online journal of poetry and poetics which publishes poetry (including audio recordings of poets reading their work), interviews with poets, reviews of poetry books, and poetry broadsides. Reviews and interviews are published throughout the year while the poetry journal featuring 24-30 poets is published twice a year, on summer and winter solstices.
Sink Hollow is a landmark of Logan Canyon, at the mouth of which stands Utah State University and its iconic Old Main Building bell tower. In the canyon, Sink Hollow refers to a series of depressions that trap cold air, causing the hollows to be noticeably colder than the rest of the canyon. Visitors can expect to find frost on a July afternoon in the sinks.Read more...
Enticed? I certainly was, which is why I contacted Kelsey Mars, founder and sole editor of Heather, a new online indie literary publication, to learn more about this nakedness next to me in bed.
First – the name. "Heather," Kelsey tells me, “is a unique feminine name, as well as being a shade of purple and a color generally associated with alternative sexuality. I wanted Heather as a publication to embody all aspects of this, to draw up images of bad girls in pleated skirts and the back row of the movie theater.”
Publishing fiction, non-fiction and poetry as well as digital art, photography and film, readers can determine whether or not the content stands up to its namesake. The free, online PDF features poems “about subjects that might make you uncomfortable,” Kelsey warns, as well as “erotica, film to chew on, stories about robots, flash fiction to make you cry a single diamond tear.”
While new to this venture, Kelsey is a seasoned literary professional. “I've been published in Huffington Post: Queer Voices, Thought Catalog, Miscellany, Meat For Tea and am upcoming in Painted Bride. You can read my original screenplay, Gotham Summer, as I tweet it out: @gothamsummer. I studied Media Theory and Communications at the College of Charleston, where I was first introduced to flash fiction writing. Since then, I've written two novels and more poems and flash fiction than is healthy for one person. In the light of day, I work on the Customer Experience team at Casper Sleep and preach the good word of Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Never ask your art to pay for you.”
While involved in so much of her own writing,I asked Kelsey the motivation for adding this responsibility. “So many of us get rejection after rejection, often without knowing why. So many voices go unheard in this industry and it's a damn shame. I started Heather to publish the weird stuff, the stuff that other publications might not see as ‘premium’ or literary enough. I wanted experimental stuff, the weirdest thing someone has ever written. I wanted a home for that stuff.”
Writers looking to home their works should know that Kelsey manages submissions on a rolling basis, accepting works as they fit the arc of each issue, offering the work more than one shot, but releasing it if it hasn’t found its fit after two issue cycles. Heather accepts simultaneous submissions, which keeps the editorial process timely.
Already, Heather has been made home by authors such as Maggie Cooper, whose first published pieces of fiction appeared in Heather and, as Kelsey notes: “totally blew my mind”; Monique Quintana, a fiction editor herself “whose shit haunts my dreams” Kelsey says; and Kirsten Bledsoe, a filmmaker whom Kelsesy knew prior to Heather, who has made both a feature length series about queer women of color and a prodigious ode to Marilyn Monroe's poetry (which Heather published).
The future for Heather is boundless: “I want to go to Mars, dude,” Kelsey tells me with an edge of seriousness. “I want to see what's outside of our solar system. Send me poems, fiction, art about that stuff. The stuff that we don't even know yet. Let's go to uncharted territory and live to brag about it.” Back down on earth, Kelsey hopes to publish Heather three times this year and keep the publication going well beyond that.
In addition to the regular publishing cycle, Kelsey is planning a special holday issue. The publication is not holiday themed, “but rather what you actually want to be reading when you're avoiding your family over the holidays,” Kelsey says. “I'd like to publish more creative nonfiction in this issue, poetry about our fears, things like that.” Submissions accepted via Submittable; deadline November 27 to be published December 11.
As a final word, Kelsey encourages writers: “The most important thing I want people to take away from Heather is that you can do it to. You can publish the stuff YOU love. And if more of us do that, more of us will realize we're someone's favorite thing.”
As may seem obvious, the name Cherry Tree honors George Washington, but perhaps less well known, the editors share, is the fact that, “in 1782, Washington gifted ‘the College at Chester’ 50 guineas, consented to serve on its Board, and gave the educational institution permission to use his name. In the American imagination, George Washington is a figure who has come to represent both truth-telling and mythmaking. The famous story of the cherry tree—I can’t tell a lie, Pa; you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.—reminds us that there is truth even in invention, that even apocrypha can convey the facts of life.”
Truth be told, Cherry Tree is extremely well-staffed for a start-up publication. Jehanne Dubrow is the author of five poetry collections, including most recently The Arranged Marriage (UNMP 2015). Her scholarly and teaching interests include creative writing, formal poetry, prosody, American Jewish literature, Holocaust studies, and the graphic novel. Managing Editor Lindsay Lusby, winner of the 2015 Fairy Tale Review Award in Poetry, is Assistant Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and Assistant Editor of the Literary House Press. Poetry & Creative Nonfiction Editor James is Associate Professor of English at Washington College, and Fiction Editor Kate Kostelnik earned her Ph.D in English from the University of Nebraska and her MFA from the University of Montana and now teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Cherry Tree also involves a staff of student screeners serving the first round of reading for all submissions during the open reading period. Selected works are moved up to Senior Readers, and then Fiction Editor, and Poetry & Creative Nonfiction Editor. Dubrow makes the final determination about which pieces will be published. Student screeners are all undergraduate students at Washington College (or very recent graduates) who have successfully completed the English Department’s Literary Editing & Publishing class.
Writers interested in submitting to the publication will appreciate the publication's mission. According to the editors, "We are writers who value and publish well-crafted short stories, poems, and creative nonfiction essays that are not afraid to make us care. We want work that braves to be, that dares to be. We encourage well-informed work where the form understands its relationship with the content. We want pieces that seem wise, that are unafraid to confront topics that matter, and that speak with urgency, that beg for an ear to listen. We want to read vividly-drawn characters who challenge and enlarge our sympathy.”
Readers coming to Cherry Tree will find what the editors believe to be the best poems, short stories, and essays holding “the truth and lyricism of language above sentimentality and message-making” from both established and emerging writers. While readers may choose to “cherry-pick” pieces, the editors advocate reading a full issue from cover to cover, “because we always order the pieces in such a way as to create a sort of thematic story arc, making the reading experience more engrossing and meaningful.”
Previously published contributors include Rick Barot, Jericho Brown, Jennifer S. Cheng, Claudia Emerson, Vievee Francis, Anna Journey, Julie Kane, Roy Kesey, Matthew Lippman, Paul Lisicky, Matthew Olzmann, Emilia Phillips, sam sax, Bruce Snider, and Julie Marie Wade.
Cherry Tree opens for general submissions in the categories of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from August 15 to October 15 each year via Submittable only.