Interview With Sixth Finch

Picture of Sixth Finch LogoAuthor: Rob MacDonald

What makes Sixth Finch a unique part of the publishing community?

A few factors set us apart, I think: –We’re just as serious about art as we are about poetry. In each issue of Sixth Finch, you’ll find some of the top young artists out there. If we’re going to cultivate real connections between artists and poets, we can’t be lazy—the art has to be just as well-crafted and smart as the poetry. –We’ve got a clean, no-nonsense design that’s modeled after a gallery. By stripping away the bells and whistles, we give the work the space it deserves and let it stand on its own. –We’re making a conscious effort to broaden the audience with each issue. Whatever we publish needs to resonate not only with the diehard fans, but also with the people who are outside of the poetry and art scenes.

What sort of qualities do you look for in a manuscript or piece of work that you are considering for publication?

We love work that’s energetic and fun and weird. We’re easily bored, so we like surprises. Picture of Rob MacDonald

Do you have a specific aesthetic preference? How would you describe that aesthetic?

I’m sure that our taste is constantly changing, so trying to nail down a particular aesthetic is tough. We’ve published poems that have ranged from three quiet lines to 37 relentless pages of questions. We’ve featured hyperrealist paintings and abstract sculptures. The whole spectrum is fair game, but we definitely like to see work that takes risks and pushes limits, work that does something we’ve never seen before. I should add that Roberto Montes has been helping me with the submissions for a while now (he’s amazing!), and I’m glad that he and I don’t have exactly the same taste. We have some great debates before accepting poems, and his perspective has been incredibly helpful.

What is the readership like for Sixth Finch? What do you imagine your typical reader is like?

I really don’t know. According to Google Analytics, we’ve got readers all over the globe, and according to our submissions, they’re not from any one demographic. I will say that it’s been incredibly rewarding to get emails from lots of teachers/professors who are using Sixth Finch in their classes. I love the idea that students are digging into the stuff we publish, debating about it and trying to understand what makes it tick.

What is the next exciting thing happening at Sixth Finch?

We just started accepting chapbook submissions (details here), and we’re psyched about venturing into the world of paper. Nate Slawson, who put out some great little books through cinematheque press and who’s now running The New Megaphone, offered to team up with us on this project, and there’s no way I’d turn down an offer to work with him. We’re committed to making gorgeous chapbooks, selling them for less than we ought to, and getting some amazing work into people’s hands.