Interview With Sakura Review

Sakura Review LogoAuthor: Julia Leverone

Tell us more about the beginnings of Sakura Review? What inspired the name?

Sakura Review has a home base in the Washington, DC area. A huge part of DC identity is its cherry blossom festival—sakura is the Japanese name for a cherry tree. Our magazine was founded in 2008 by University of Maryland MFA students, now graduates, living in the district and MD and VA; everyone on staff now is or has been a part of the program, and though many of us have moved across the country, we continue to appoint UMD folks to our staff positions. That’s important to us. (Note: our connection to the program itself is informal.)


What reader do you hope will happen onto Sakura Review? What do you hope they’ll find there?

We hope for generalists, for polyglots, for musicians—lit people who have a range of interests, subject-wise and in terms of style. We love getting work that defies what we have published before, and hope that Sakura readers will love the challenge of narrative form we try to bring into our pages. We are proud to be a print publication and seek supporters of the medium.


What unexpected challenges and rewards have you encountered as an editor?

Being Editor of a small staff and relatively petite print magazine (~60 p.) allows me to play multiple roles. I get to have my hands in design and marketing, sales and management. It’s been surprisingly great coordinating with artists for our covers; it allows me to flex my visual artist’s eye, and is rewarding in a broad, immediate way. Choosing art lets me consider all of what we are and wish to represent both as a magazine and inside individual issues, whose writing takes on a life of its own each time around.


Sakura Review has a wide range of developed writers. How do you balance new talent with established voices?

Oh, that’s easy. We want to publish any work that’s quality. Whether it’s from an emerging or seasoned writer doesn’t matter to us—it’s a great feeling to present pieces that may be among a writer’s first or may appear in subsequent collections.


What is the next exciting thing happening at Sakura Review?

We opened to accepting translations in 2014, and we’re excited to be publishing work that stretches around the world and to be a part of the translating community now (there’s so much support there!). We’ve also received some great artwork to include among the writing inside our next issue, which we have not done in a few years. Volume VI will look fantastic. We will be at AWP in Minneapolis and are co-hosting a fabulous off-site reading!