Anomalous Press & ANMLY, Sarah Clark (Interview)
Interviewed by Katelynn Ladd
This is an interview conducted with Sarah Clark, the poetry editor of Anomalous Press and ANMLY, the literary magazine attached to the press.
How did you become interested in editing, and how did that lead you to the position you are in now? When did you first hear about Anomalous Press and how did you become involved with Anomaly?
My interest in editing has always been interested in a love of reading and writing. I was just never so talented at the writing portion. It turns out I can help others write with much more finesse than I can write my own work. When I was in high school, I joined my school's literary journal and did the same again in college. When I was 18, I first began interning for too fairly big name literary journals, Blackbird and one that's gone under. That's where I fully developed into a career editor, but my love of language has been a persistent guide since I was very young. My first word was "book."
I’ve read that you are the Poetry Editor at Anomaly. Would you consider that your favorite genre to write in? What drew you to poetry?
Prose poetry is my favorite genre to write in, though again, I'm not much of a writer. Or at least, I'm very hesitant to let anyone read my work. The possibilities in poetic form and expression were what first drew me more closely to poetry than prose. Though, I'm all for genre bending, so I often question how meaningful the distinction between the two really is.
As this could be considered a relatively young journal, what would you say are the press’s goals looking ahead, whether it’s long-term or short-term?
Looking ahead, I want to publish work that people don't see coming, and work that's necessary. The ultimate goal is to always do right by our contributors and our readers. As an editor, I am in service to the contributors, their work, and the readership. Keeping all three satisfied, challenged, and hopefully as safe as possible from literary abusers is the job.
What is your thought/work process when considering submissions for the magazine? Is it a struggle to decide the right pieces?
Ooh this is a hard one. As a biannual journal, it's always difficult to narrow down our work. The idea is to create an issue that is neither too long and goes unread, or leaves too much on the cutting room floor. We get so much incredible work during our reading periods that tough decisions have to be made about which pieces work well together and how they shape an issue. I don't think it can ever be as simple as looking for "the best work" that we receive. Frankly, I don't believe in canons or hierarchies like that. But one thing I do look for and one of the most important things for me as an editor is continuing to find ways to explore ways to fight the kyriarchy. Some voices have taken up too much space for far too long and have suffocated or driven out the voices of others. One of the most important functions as an editor is to make space for writers who haven't been afforded the space to be heard.
What would you say is the ideal reader or audience for this literary magazine?
I'd be a bad editor if I didn't say, "everyone." Regardless if they can relate to the lived experiences expressed in our work, I hope that everyone can find something that they like or are challenged by in our journal.
It says in the press’s mission statement that Anomaly is “committed to encouraging experimentation in the arts.” In your opinion what would be the biggest “experimentation” that Anomaly has seen and/or published?
I don't know if I could ever say what the biggest experiment is. Simply writing against power is one of the largest experiments most writers today are endeavoring in. That being said I think a few of my favorite traditionally experimental pieces we've published are:
- Chavonn Williams Shen, Press Release -- https://anmly.org/ap31/chavonn-williams-shen/
- Tian-Ai, Abecedarian Portent -- https://anmly.org/ap31/tian-ai-2/
- Noor Ibn Najam, Unhappy Isn't The Word At All -- https://anmly.org/ap31/noor-ibn-najam/
- Cassandra J. Bruner, What Swanplume Boy, Through the Stall Floor, Hears the Chorus from the Soil -- https://anmly.org/ap29/cassandra-j-bruner/
- Golden, Trans Day of Remembrance -- https://anmly.org/ap29/golden/
- Kathryn Merwin, To Woman (Persona As Dirt) -- http://anmly.org/ap28/kathryn-merwin/
- Yongyu Chen, Call Me -- https://anmly.org/ap28/yongyu-chen/
Lastly, do you have any advice you would like to share for new and upcoming student editors or those who wish to pursue a career in editing?
The most crucial thing is to never compromise yourself. Never forget that there will never be a bigoted or predatory writer whose work couldn't be replaced by a writer who isn't hateful. Never confuse work in the literary world or arts nonprofits, with activism. Being a writer or an editor doesn't automatically make anyone a good person, and social change requires so much more.