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Lit Mag Spotlight: Sequestrum

Sequestrum

We’re thankful to be shining November’s Lit Mag Spotlight on Sequestrum, a unique journal of short prose and poetry that began as a collaborative effort between graduates of Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Sequestrum loves publishing concise, evocative writing that couldn’t exist in any other form, yet reminds us of the breadth and scope of longer works. Learn more about what they love in a submission, why they feel itchy, and what makes their journal different and awesome. Enjoy!

CONTEST: Leave a comment on this blog post by November 24 for a chance to win a free six-month subscription to SequestrumThis contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner: Maggie De Vore! Thank you to all who participated. 

PLUS: Sequestrum is offering a special discount code on any quarterly subscription to anyone reading this interview: The discount code is WRITERSRELIEF and is valid until November 30, 2015.

Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.

We started Sequestrum because there was no single home for the various types of literature we love. Plain and simple: We had an itch to scratch, and we were happy to find an abundance of writers and readers with similar “rashes.” We like a grounded piece of regional writing just as much as a dose of slipstream. We relish the discomfort created when minimalists rub elbows with the verbose. We’ve published nature writing, genre-bending poetry, strait-laced essays, queer fiction, surrealism, and formalists—and we pair every publication with a visual component. Guggenheim Fellows and Pulitzer Prize Nominees are at the same table as new and emerging voices. And it’s all been in the name of that original goal: giving the writing we love a home.

Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.

Honest writing which engages and is executed flawlessly.

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

I’m going to cheat and give a few answers. Fiction: “Too Late for a Lot of Things” (featuring a homicidal worker at Santa’s Workshop, the amusement park) and “Natural Order” (a mother grieving the loss of her daughter) were both amazing. Poetry: “Oppenheimer” by John Sibley Williams and “Melancholy Between the Bedsheets” by Emma Bolden have such rich language, they speak for themselves. Each one of those pieces read like nothing we’d encountered before; possibly something we never would again. Reading something so original—so candid and well crafted—is what every editor aches for. That and free egg sandwiches. We ache for that too. Read them all here: www.sequestrum.org/archive

Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turnoff that you encounter (in terms of craft)?

The easy answer is grammatical sloppiness. The hard answer is writing that is short on honesty—writing that reads well, but skims the surface and won’t offer the reader that gut punch every story or poem should deliver. But honesty is a difficult attribute to illustrate, so I’ll skim the surface and say grammatical sloppiness.

What’s the most common oversight (in terms of submission guidelines)?

Not reading the journal. Every story and poem we’ve published is free to preview, and subscriptions are on a pay-what-you-can basis, so there’s no excuse for why we still receive Chicken Soup for the Confectioner’s Soul submissions. We don’t want them. They rot our teeth. Please and thank you.

Why is your journal awesome? 

We publish a wide array of literature, so every publication feels fresh. Besides our ranging aesthetic tastes, readers are treated to internationally renowned novelists and award-winning poets in addition to writers so new their fingertips are smooth and free of keyboard calluses. The writing is always top-notch, and never the same.

Where can readers find your submission guidelines?

Here on our website.

What else would you like us to know?

Shamelessness says I should plug the fact that, in addition to general and FREE subscriber submissions, we offer contests for new and established writers through our Editor’s Reprint Award and New Writer Awards. Whether you’ve been around the block a few hundred times or just hopped on the curb, we want to read and share your writing.

But we feel any interview worth its weight asks two age-old questions:  White or wheat? and Who’s your favorite Beatle? Our answers: Wheat. The deathwatch beetle.

Like Sequestrum on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

 

CONTEST: Leave a comment on this blog post by November 24 for a chance to win a free six-month subscription to SequestrumThis contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner: Maggie De Vore! Thank you to all who participated.

14 Responses to Lit Mag Spotlight: Sequestrum

  1. Thanks to everyone who responded! We loved reading everyone’s favorite Beatle and bread. Just a reminder to anyone who didn’t win a free subscription: Use the coupon code “WRITERSRELIEF” to save 50% on new subscriptions. Happy Thanksgiving and a big thank-you to Writer’s Relief!

  2. Becoming 84 today, I feel quite good about finding you and will submit a story tomorrow!! I do an all grains bread, small in size and heavy because it’s loaded with real food — and == when no one is looking, because the slices are so small — I have two sandwiches. My daughter said at my age I can do any damned thing I want to. Within the issues of the law.

  3. Can I be contrary and say rye? My favourite Beatle is George, often underrated and overlooked, like many writers, *big sigh*:)
    I’ll definitely check out Sequestrum but when you say ‘regional writing’ does that extend to international writers in another region?

  4. Wheat or white? I don’t care as long as its the kind of bread I can put in my checking account. My fav beetle will always be Ringo.

  5. I prefer rye and was intrigued by the scarab beetle until I saw its likeness in my garage – scared the bejeezers out of me.

  6. I think your mag would be some place I could submit some experimental stuff, both poetry and prose. I’d love to read what your writers are doing. I may be Jewish but I agree with you about chicken soup.

  7. I can’t decide if I want wheat or white, it depends on what goes inside the sandwich. In regards to the beetle, I go with the tiger beetle, the fastest animal on earth if you take size out of the equation. But now I want to go check out Sequestrum journal, it sounds intriguing.

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