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Lit Mag Spotlight: AEROGRAM and Fortunates

Crazy pineappleThis week we’re featuring TWO new journals—talk about bang for your buck! AEROGRAM and Fortunates are products of the subtly named Crazy Pineapple Press and are two of the most innovative lit mags that we’ve had the pleasure to come across. If you think the world has run dry of original ideas, Crazy Pineapple Press is going to prove you wrong.

CONTEST: Leave a comment by April 12th and enter to win “The Crazy Pineapple Fresh-Squeezed Lit Kit,” featuring postage stamps, fortune cookies, and more! This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Brianne, our winner. Thank you to all who participated!

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1.       Crazy Pineapple Press has two journals (which we ADORE, by the way). Can you tell us about them one by one?

AEROGRAM publishes poems with art, submitted on a postcard. Fortunates features very short poems and brief prose, intended to be read in a random order.

2.       Where did you get the ideas for these two quirky journals?

They’re modified versions of past personal projects. In April 2009 I started the Aloha Project blog—for each day of National Poetry Month I wrote a poem and designed a corresponding postcard. Cultured, outgoing, and opposable-thumbed, AEROGRAM is the Aloha Project’s more-evolved descendant.

Crazy Pineapple Press Contest Prize
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And, actually, that same month I saw the Neo-Futurists’  “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” a show of thirty 2-minute sketches and monologues performed in random order, which causes astounding and schizoid flips of emotion. I borrowed the random format for a July 2010 reading at Gina Myers’ series in Saginaw, Michigan, for which I folded my shortest poems into handmade fortune cookies. Thus: Fortunates.

3.       Digital fortune cookies…online postcards delivered by mail… Can you talk about any challenges or triumphs that you as an editor have come across because of the fun interplay between online and physical mediums?

Great question! I hadn’t realized it until now—but it seems while trying to effectively utilize the design parameters of the Web, I’ve gone trigger-happy with my transmogrifier gun set to Pixelate, trying to digitize all sorts of tangible experiences. For example, I programmed AEROGRAM’s postcards to be viewed as in real space, both sides never showing simultaneously. Even most of the graphic design for the sites was initially created by hand before scanning and editing.

However, I have not yet duplicated the satisfying crunch of breaking, and eating, a fortune cookie.

4.       Tell us about a recently published piece that got the staff really excited. Why did you love it? Why did it strike a chord? Can readers find it online?

The postwoman delivered an AEROGRAM last week that had once been a plastic milk carton. I love recycled art. At Fortunates I’m impressed with Emily Threlkeld, Mercedes Lawry, Peter Clarke—but we’ve been getting a lot of crisply witty and nonchalantly surreal work. Plus the collection’s always alive! And that’s thrilling.

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5.       Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turn-off that you encounter (in terms of craft)? 

Big words are like big people. You can’t just throw them around or cram them all into one small poem. Likewise a small poem, like a small room, quickly reaches occupancy, no matter the size of its words. Leave room to breathe. Act natural.

6.       What’s the most common oversight?

Length. I sense a few writers see the limit as an average and actively fill their submissions to overflowing (see: small room, above). But no matter how much I like a poem, Fortunates is simply not able to display poems much larger than the posted limit.

AEROGRAM has received postcards advertising events, books, and other products—some without any poem at all. It befuddles.

7.       Why are your journals awesome?

First, and I hope it’s obvious: our contributors and their spectacular writing and artwork. Second: Design. I’m no graphic whiz or programming genius, but I’ve tried to bend the digital form to best support their awesome work.

8.       Where can readers find your submission guidelines?

Here and there.

9.       Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Crazy Pineapple Press keeps its goggles on and Bunsen burner lit. Be on the watch for more literary experiments, whether journals, blogs, chapbooks, or some Frankenstein’s monster of digital publication.

Writer QuestionsLeave a comment by April 12th and enter to win “The Crazy Pineapple Fresh-Squeezed Lit Kit,” featuring postage stamps, fortune cookies, and more! This contest is now closed.
crazy pineapple

18 Responses to Lit Mag Spotlight: AEROGRAM and Fortunates

  1. I check in with both sites at least once a week. I especially like fortunates: great idea to allow the poems to appear in a random order.

  2. I love the way traditional and digital mediums are mixing. Any chance to bridge the digital gap is fine with me. Love the name of the Press and it’s bite sized portions.

  3. As a writer who specializes in short, to-the-point ideas, this is a welcome possibility. Thanks for alerting us to this mag.

  4. it’d be an honour to win this, if you may. i strive to be nothing more than a successful novelist, poet, and/or journalist when i’m older, a goal which i’m working hard towards now.

  5. Man, it’s great to see these comments! Thank you! And good luck on the drawing! I hope you’ll send them some poems/postcards!

    Morty, Crazy Pineapple–the name and logo–comes from the few months I lived in Vienna. The exit to our subway station put us right in the face of a mural of anthropomorphic fruit and vegetables.
    The Pineapple still haunts me, too, Matt.

  6. Great interview! I’d love to see a version of the crazy pineapple logo sporting lab goggles. :)

  7. I am just glad the pineapple lacks arms. Still he will haunt me… Seriously: what a clever way to adapt to the new publishing culture without feeling like “poetry will die,” or some nonsense like that.

  8. Nice interview! Can I win the Lit Kit? Or would that be unfair since I get a shout out in the interview?

  9. Postcards? How very “Post Secret” of them. (I mean that in a good way of course!) It brings back the lost art of handwritten letters. Kind of romantic ;)

  10. I’m always jotting my poetry on the backsides of napkins; maybe I can get them onto postcards. I’m going to check out AEROGRAM’s submission guidelines right now. Thanks WR!

  11. Fortunates is AWESOME! I love that the pieces are so bite-sized that I can read a few at a time. And who doesn’t love cracking open a fortune cookie?! I’d love to win that prize of fortune cookies too! :)

  12. Oh. My. God. I want this fresh-squeezed lit kit! What an amazing interview and I’m loving the quirk and fun-loving attitude of crazy pineapple press!

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