Interview With Spry Literary Journal
Authors: Erin A. Corriveau and Linsey Jayne
1. How did you come up with the idea for the magazine? What was the inspiration for Spry?
The answer to this dates back to our grad school days. We (Linsey and Erin) had just finished working on our creative theses–Linsey’s had been a disambiguation between prose poetry and flash fiction, which included interviews and an anthology of works. Erin’s had been a close study of micro-memoir, and the ways in which social media impact creative writing and asked writers to work those muscles for brevity, which also included an anthology, entitled “The Story Behind the Status.” At the same time, we were reading and editing for Mason’s Road, the Fairfield University MFA program’s online literary journal. We were so thrilled and challenged by so much of the work we were reading, and so taken by the process of producing a journal, that we felt creating something of our own that focused on our literary passions was a natural next step.
2. How did you begin to gather materials for Spry? How did you go about the process of solicitation and advertising for the journal?
At our outset, we didn’t actually personally solicit any writing–other than putting out some general calls for submissions, and sharing them via our personal social media outlets. We were fortunate, though, to personally reach out to Porochista Khakpour and Erica Dawson for their (superb and enlightening) interviews. We relied on what we had learned and the networks we’d developed through the Fairfield University MFA program and through Mason’s Road, and advertising really started to happen organically. It was kind of magical, really! And now whenever someone contacts us through our e-mail, we’re still so humbled by their excitement about Spry.
3. What have you gained from working for Spry? How has this experience changed your perspective of reading literature and the process of creating a literary magazine?
Where to begin! We have become members of a literary community, with friends from around the globe, who we’re just so honored to have in our life and with whom we can swap insights. Our networks have grown exponentially since our first issue, and we couldn’t feel more fortunate.
Beyond the wonderful networks, editing for Spry has truly changed how we read literature. Since our free-reading time has become very precious, we read, as Erin very astutely notes, like editors-in-chief now. Before Spry’s induction, there was time to read every word of a text, even if it wasn’t resonating. For both of us, it seems, literary journals have become an integral component of that free reading time as well. Editing, and working with poets and authors from around the globe, has made us both better editors, well-rounded writers, and sharper readers as well.
It’s also made us better writers and submitters. We understand the work that goes in behind the scenes and we pay careful attention to the submission guidelines of the places we send our own work. We make sure that all of our writing that we set free to the literary world is at its possible best, and we don’t send work out to journals we don’t think would be a great fit.
4. What do you hope the reader will find with Spry?
We hope that readers will lose themselves, and find resonance within the works of Spry. We hope they will be excited, challenged, moved, saddened, enlightened, or otherwise brought to a new place. We’re all so busy that the little time we have available isn’t generally parceled off to places like lit journals. If someone winds up at Spry in their free time, we hope they are transported.
5. What do you look for in a publishable piece of writing?
First and foremost, we look for submissions that follow the guidelines! 😉 We like work to come to us as close to publication ready as possible. Although we are open to discussion and edits with each of our authors, we often side with a publication-ready piece in the final moments of deliberation because we like to publish work that is in line with the vision of its author or poet.
Beyond this, we are open-minded and flexible with work. We like things that are risky, honest, experimental, beautiful – but we’re not, as yet, looking to any specific theme.
6. How do you see Spry evolving in the next several years?
In the next several years, we hope to collect some of our published work and include it in a print volume. We also hope to bring spoken word and open-reading events to the public as often as possible. We are hoping to evolve to a place where we can start hosting contests, to give back to our generous and wildly talented submitters as well. Above all else, we know Sprywill be evolving in the years to come, and we’re open to learning just how as we go. We love to hear feedback from our readership, so any ideas are more than welcome.
7. What is the next exciting thing happening at Spry?
We are currently in the process of publishing our third issue, which is filled with fantastic writing, this very month! This issue will slowly grow with some interviews of published artists as well as interviews featuring submitters we’ve published in the past. For issue #4, we’ve been joined by more readers to our team. This is the first time we’ve had such a large team behind Spry, and we’re hoping that the additional input will enable us to make solid decisions quickly and fairly, and to continue to grow in exciting ways. Stay tuned!
Erin A. Corriveau is an emotional archeologist who graduated from Fairfield University’s MFA program with a concentration in creative nonfiction. Her writing has been published in (em): A Review of Text and Image, Revolution House, Lunch Ticket, Paper Tape, Shoreline Literary Arts Magazine, The Fall River Spirit, and RedFez. She is the co-founder and editor of Spry Literary Journal. Her blog, Reinventing Erin, is her outlet for ruminating on the minutiae of everyday life.
Linsey Jayne is a wave-headed poet with a penchant for jazz who received her MFA in creative writing at Fairfield University. Her writing has been published in such publications as The Standard-Times, The Dartmouth-Westport Chronicle, and exactly.what. She has served as the chief poetry editor for Mason’s Road, as well as the student editor for the Bryant Literary Review and the opinion section editor of The Archway. Linsey is currently at work on her first collection of poetry, entitled Idle Jive.