Our latest Lit Mag Spotlight is beaming on A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. This Kentucky-based journal is dedicated to publishing new, emerging, and established writers, creating a well-rounded reading experience. Find out all about their ideal submission, the snag they always run into in the submission process, and what their well-known name means to them. Enjoy!
CONTEST: Leave a comment on this blog post by August 29 to enter to win each of ACWLP’s back issues (I-VI). Readers and commenters can also enter this coupon code when purchasing the latest issue of ACWLP to receive $2 off: YW52VY3K.This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Nancy, and thanks to all who participated!
Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.
One reason we have retained our unwieldy name, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, is because it so accurately describes all of our goals. It starts with cleanliness; we want to encourage well-crafted, meticulously precise lines of poetry and prose. This doesn’t mean that we are afraid of pieces that get their hands dirty—Hemingway certainly wasn’t. Instead, it just means that sloppy, unthoughtful work won’t find a home with us. The second part of the name has to do with the spotlight that we want to shine on untapped potential in the literary community. We are proud that we regularly are the first publication credit for our contributors or that we publish pieces by authors before their first book. Lastly, we hope to be the “place” where writers and readers congregate. We try to develop lasting relationships with our contributors to foster a writing community; if we publish your poem or story, we are invested in your future.
Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.
“I read the other day some verses written…which were original and not conventional.” Emerson
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?
We’ve been lucky to get a number of great fiction submissions for our upcoming volume; I’ve been especially excited by Leslee Rene Wright’s story “Just Clay.” It begins with a quirky narrative about a sculptor who has a strange obsession with clay and moves to a final moment of stark emotional impact. These kinds of idiosyncratic details are what I’ve been searching for in fiction lately, and she nails it. Read “Just Clay” here.
Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turnoff that you encounter?
I am most turned off by submission-reading déjà vu. There are certain cliché images in bad submissions, a man smoking a cigarette comes to mind immediately, that repeat themselves over and over into meaninglessness. Forget those old tropes and give us instead something entirely your own. Recent contributors gave us an autographed painting of an iguana, a lung baby, or the “honeyman” in their poems, and I’m confident you have your own original thoughts to give as well.
What’s the most common oversight (in terms of submission guidelines)?
The most common oversight, from my reading, seems to spring from submitters who want to write contemporary poetry or fiction without spending the time to read it or know the kinds of pieces that are actually being published today. If literature is to be seen as an ongoing conversation between artists, it seems essential to do as much, if not more, listening than talking.
Why is your journal awesome?
I think what makes our journal different from most others has all to do with the aesthetic. You can trust when you pick up a copy of our magazine that you will find inspiring and crafted pieces all the way through and that they will come from diverse sources that you probably wouldn’t have been able to find on your own.
A preview of our next volume:
“End of the World Scenario #2”
We slurp up the last drop of oil,
and the power plants begin to wheeze.
The streetlights sizzle out,
and for a while, we have fun in the dark.
We get good at playing pioneer.
The women take to petticoats,
and the gentlemen all wear suspenders.
Suddenly, we fall into rustic careers.
It’s like one day you wake up
and you’re a blacksmith or a druggist.
Myself, I’m the son of a bank robber.
My job is to suffer politely.
We accept all submissions online with Submittable.