Friday, November 17, 2017

Six Questions for David Walker and Joey Gould, Editors, Golden Walkman Magazine

Golden Walkman Magazine is an audio-produced product that publishes poetry of any length and fiction/non-fiction/craft essays to 3,000 words. They also provide occasional music prompts, called Dialogue Submissions, in which authors respond to an original piece of music and once a year run an (Audio) Chapbook Competition. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

David Walker: I love the idea of a literary magazine; it feels so communal. A collection of writers who often have never met working in concert with each other to create one piece of art, whether in print or online - there’s few things if anything else like it in the world. I specifically got hooked on the idea of making it a podcast because that’s what I’ve been obsessed with for the past six or seven years. The thought of listening to a literary magazine on my commute to work or while folding laundry or on my morning runs was too cool to pass up. I also find that I have a very weird mix of aesthetics in writing that I like and having them all under one roof was an itch of mine that wasn’t being scratched. I figured this was the best way to champion the writing I admire.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

DW: For one, imagery. I’m not sure what it is about a unique sensory description of a common anything that makes my synapses fire, but I’m a sucker for any submission that makes me see something in my life a new way. Voice is also incredibly important to me. I want to feel like the writing is from someone I could pick out from a crowd. Don’t give me a story anyone could tell; give me the story only you could. And the last one is going to sound knit-picky of me, but I need to feel like you’ve read our guidelines. As a writer who submits to journals on a regular basis, I scour every punctuation mark of the guidelines because I know that someone took the time to set up Gmail inbox filters and coordinate blind readers to ensure the quickest, most equitable shot at publication for hopeful contributors possible. Not following any one of the guidelines could easily undermine those mechanisms or simply put the editors in a less favorable mood when trying to split hairs on two equally great poems.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

DW: Perpetuation of rape culture, racism, stereotyping of any kind, hate speech, explicit sexual content that seems to serve  only the basest of purposes, and anything that has the aura of manifesto writing. Beyond that, clichés & lack of interesting language.

SQF: Where did the idea for the Dialogue Submissions come from?

DW: I think music is such a dynamic art form. It can have such a profound impact on our emotions. When I found that I was occasionally using music to inspire my own writing, I thought it would fit perfectly with the audio nature of our magazine. Now we don’t only offer a venue for writers to showcase their talent, we connect artists of different mediums in a cycle of inspiration. These Dialogue Submissions are one of my favorite parts of running this magazine because I get to witness firsthand the multitude of ways different writers interpret a single piece of music, and it reminds me just how much talent exists in the world.

SQF: You also offer a manuscript service. Is this limited to chapbooks? Poetry and prose?

DW: Right now, yes. Because we refuse to deviate from our commitment to present art aurally and we haven’t tackled a book-length project yet, we have to see how things go. Our first chapbook contest closed in July, and we will begin production soon; that’s when we’ll know more about our abilities and limitations. We would love to expand our scope and begin accepting full-length collections down the road, so we will keep you posted.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

DW: What new ideas for the magazine have you been toying around with? I definitely think the podcast format offers so much unique potential. Interviews, for instance, would fit in pretty naturally. I also think we could feature work on current events in the weeks between our monthly issues, since most podcasts are published on a weekly basis anyways. I really just want this magazine to be an inclusive space for a variety of artistic opportunities, and I think we’ve only begun to explore. We’d also love to become a paying market and collaborate more with other journals. Writers have a wonderful community and it behooves us to be good citizens. We’re looking to run events at festivals like the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and work with others to hold discussions about writing. For instance, we just recorded an episode of The Literary Whip, a podcast aimed at illuminating where the line is between acceptances and rejections at lit mags. I learned as much from actually articulating my judgment as anyone who listens to it might.

Thank you, David. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

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