Issue #96 — September 27, 2011
For this week’s feature article, Sapling interviewed Kate Lorenz, editor of Parcel magazine.
Interview conducted by Kit Frick
Sapling: Parcel is a new journal; the first issue came out this past spring, and you’re likely working on issue two now. First of all, congrats on putting together a fantastic first issue! Since you’re new on the scene, what would you like people to know about Parcel?
Kate Lorenz: Thank you for the kind words about the issue, and we’re so happy to be featured in Sapling. As a new journal, we just hope that people will hear about Parcel and will want to submit, subscribe, read a review, or take a glance at our website. We’re still very much working on building our community of readers, and we’re hoping to publish an exciting variety of work. The second issue is shaping up quite nicely, so we hope people will consider picking up a sample copy, and we always love hearing feedback from readers.
S: As the name suggests, Parcel has a clear interest in the complete, tangible package—in the printed word and in the journal itself as an artifact. Can you tell us a little about your commitment to real-hold-it-in-your-hand journal publishing and how you see Parcelcontributing to that world?
KL: I’ve always loved the printed object as well as writing letters and receiving mail. Heidi Raak, co-founder of Parcel, owns The Raven Book Store, an amazing independent bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas. She and I bonded over our love of physical books, and we wanted that love to come through clearly in Parcel. Our designer, Justin Runge, has an incredible eye for layout—he also puts out lovely chapbooks with Blue Hour Press—and so the attention to the physical journal starts from the beginning of production. We set out to be another venue of support for print publishing and to show writers that people are still willing to put the effort into starting print publications, despite the fact that we’re always being given a doomsday forecast for the life of print.
S: What can you tell us about your editorial process? That is, how does the Parcel staff go about selecting poetry and prose for the journal?
KL: We have a very small staff right now—just Heidi, Justin, and myself. Heidi and I select most of the content, and we consult Justin particularly for his input on poetry and art. We have a few other friends that we impose upon for their wisdom from time to time, but in general, we just read constantly and have a lot of meetings in dark corners of coffee shops, and then an issue of Parcel emerges.
S: Your first issue includes a very cool reading lamp bookmark, and your website indicates that more limited-edition visual art goodies (postcards! broadsides!) may be in store for readers. You also feature a series of beautiful color prints by artist Jaclyn Mednicov in issue one. How would you describe the role that visual art is taking in Parcel’s overall vision as a journal?
KL: One of our broad goals with Parcel is to support the arts, and that certainly extends to book art and visual art. I think pairing the content with beautiful images sets a great tone for the publication. We certainly plan to keep featuring a visual artist with each issue—the upcoming issue features beautiful watercolors by Brooklyn-based artist Tamara Thomsen. Incorporating broadsides and postcards also fits right in with our mission to send our subscribers a special bundle in the mail, and the next postcards are designed by Emily Tipps of High5 Press.
S: In addition to the standard wisdom of reading a back issue and following the submission guidelines on the website, what advice would you give to writers who are interested in submitting to Parcel?
KL: At this point, I would advise writers to just submit! We’re still so young that we’re looking for all kinds of work from diverse writers, poets, and artists. The Parcel aesthetic is slowly revealing itself, but we always like to find work that surprises and excites us, no matter what category the work might fit snugly within.
S: What literary journals or small presses are you particularly excited about right now?
KL: In terms of presses, I’m always excited to see books from Coffee House Press, Sarabande Books, Starcherone Books, Fiction Collective Two, and Dzanc. I worked forBlack Warrior Review for four years during graduate school, and I look forward to the wild new things they come up with. On my nightstand I have copies of New Orleans Review,Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, and Gigantic. There’s also Beecher’s, a student-run journal out of the University of Kansas that was founded at about the same time as Parcel. Their first issue is superb. In terms of online journals, I read The Collagist, PANK(their print is great as well), and DIAGRAM, among others.
S: Who are your favorite living writers?
KL: How challenging to narrow this down! Kathryn Davis, Joy Williams, Ann Beattie, William Trevor, Rebecca Curtis, Ilya Kaminsky, Olena Kalytiak Davis, and Rikki Ducornet. Honestly, all of the professors I worked with at the University of Alabama are formidable writers. And all the Parcel contributors, of course.
To learn more about Parcel, visit: http://www.parcelmag.org/
Kate Lorenz received her MFA from the University of Alabama, where she served as the editor of Black Warrior Review. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Everyday Genius, and Tuscaloosa Runs This: An eBook of Tuscaloosa Writers. Her writing has also been published by Blue Hour Press and Small Fires Press, and she was a 2010 finalist forGulf Coast’s Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. Kate lives in Lawrence, Kansas, and works as a judicial assistant at the Kansas Court of Appeals during the daylight hours.