Come and celebrate the re-launch of the Portland Review this Friday, February 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Literary Arts (925 SW Washington). The evening is a celebration of the Winter 2013 issue, featuring reading and revelry with these featured writers:
Kait Heacock is a native of Washington state. A recent transplant to Oregon, she is a graduate student in Portland State University’s Master’s in Book Publishing program. Her work is published or forthcoming in Lingua, Soundings Review, and Clackamas Literary Review.
Kevin Sampsell is a Portland writer whose work has appeared in Salon, Nerve, The Good Men Project, Hobart, and elsewhere. His memoir, A Common Pornography, was published in 2010, and his novel This is Between Us will be published by Tin House Books next year.
Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of The Chronology of Water: A Memoir and three works of short fiction: Her Other Mouths, Liberty’s Excess, and Real to Reel, as well as a book of literary criticism, Allegories of Violence, and the novel, Dora: A Headcase. The Chronology of Water won the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice 2012 and the PNBA Award 2012. Her work appears in the anthologies Life As We Show It, Forms At War, and Wreckage of Rea son. She teaches writing, literature, film, and women’s studies in Oregon.
The new Editor-in-Chief of the Portland Review, Tim Faiella, was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions:
What aspects of the Winter issue are you most excited about?
Faiella: We have a lot to be excited about. This marks the first book of the Portland Review‘s re-boot. We’re incredibly thankful to Literary Arts for allowing us to host our launch party at your beautiful space. When the current staff came on board, the first thing we did was sit down and talk through all aspects of the publication. We talked about simple things like the size and shape of the book and generating a logo (thank you Andrew Mayo and 5seven Designs), and more complex things like what kind of writing and art we want to promote.
All of this comes in addition to the enjoyment of reading submissions and trying to piece together an anthology that sticks together. We were lucky enough to collect some fantastic poetry, prose, and art for this issue—including remarkable stories from local writers Lidia Yuknavitch and Kevin Sampsell. We were also very fortunate to attract art submissions from some incredible young talents working with Lynn Pass at West Linn High School, including Paige Einstein, who designed the stunning cover image for the book. The book will also include Genevieve Hudson’s intelligent review of Michael Heald’s Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension.
I think I’m most excited about seeing our work pay off. There’s an incredible group of folks on staff at the Portland Review. Our offices are in a subbasement, so it can get pretty dreary starting at a computer screen, tucked away from the world at large. We’re ecstatic to have the opportunity to step out of the dungeon and show off the book we’ve dedicated all this time to.
Can you describe the editorial process?
Faiella: I’m lucky to work with a dedicated group of people. At the most basic level, we’re looking for work that enthralls us. Both our staff and our volunteer readers spend a ton of time reading through a lot of great submissions from all over the world. Unfortunately, we can’t print everything, and not everyone has time to read through every submission. During the selection process, we use a basic voting system, then reconvene and talk through the finalists. At that point, we adopt more of a consensus-based decision-making process. If anyone has reservations about a piece, we talk through it and if the red flag remains, we won’t print it. Once we’ve made our final decisions, we copy edit and try to find some kind of unifying theme—something that makes the book a cohesive unit.
Over the years, we’ve had some luck soliciting works from established writers that we love—many of them from in and around Portland. Hopefully that luck will continue and we can continue carving a niche for ourselves in the larger literary landscape.
What is Flash Fiction Friday?
Faiella: The short answer is that it’s a weekly excuse to indulge our penchant for alliteration. A more accurate explanation is that we’re excited by the emergence of flash fiction (also called sudden, micro, short short, and postcard fiction depending on who you’re talking to) as a form within the literary world and wanted to be a part of it. By limiting the amount of space a writer has to tell a story, some fascinating things can happen. We’ve been impressed and, at times, surprised by the creative leaps our contest participants have taken.
That being said, we’re considering expanding our Friday offerings to include some longer fiction and feature some content that’s been included in past issues—so keep your eyes out. We have a lot of great content that we’re planning to share on our website in the coming months.
What inspired you to work with The Portland Review?
Faiella: The thing I’m most inspired by is the simple fact that it’s another way to play with words. Portland’s a great literary town. The people working for the Review are writers and book people. The pay’s nothing to write home about, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s something we love and obsess over. It’s exhilarating to talk about literature and art with people that share our passion. The Portland Review allows us to enter these conversations more actively by finding works that we love and sharing them with anyone that’s interested (and maybe a few who didn’t know they were interested).
What question do you wish we’d asked? (And will you answer it?)
Faiella: I’ll give you two:
Is that an Ewok on your shoulder?
Why should I come to the launch party?
We’d love to meet our readers and it’s going to be a great time. We’re excited about readings by Kait Heacock, Kevin Sampsell, and Lidia Yuknavitch. We expect some of the artists included in the issue to be at the party—anyone who shows up will also have the chance to wish our cover artist, Paige Einstein, a happy birthday. We hope to see you at Literary Arts, February 15 at 6:30 pm.