Come As You Are is a forthcoming 90s themed anthology edited by E. Kristen Anderson with the help of Samantha Duncan and ELJ Publications. They are seeking submissions of poetry, micro and flash fiction, flash essay (lyric essay especially), and hybrid works of no more than 750 words.
I wondered how and why this anthology came to be, so I asked editor E. Kristen Anderson and ELJ Executive Editor Samantha Duncan and they kindly replied. See my interview with Anderson and Duncan along with submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: What first gave you the idea for a 90s themed anthology?
DUNCAN: This is probably an Emily question, as I’m foggy on exactly how this idea came about. All I know is I remember hearing about it and immediately wanting to be a part of curating it, because I love pop culture lit and the 90s. 🙂
ANDERSON: I think I was talking with Ariana D. Den Bleyker (boss lady of ELJ) about how much fun I have doing anthologies and how much I love pop culture poetry (I mean, hello, Prince, Nintendo, Seventeen Magazine, I’m all up in this shit) and down the rabbit hole we went. It was probably like 3am. That is when the magic happens.
HOPKINSON: What kind of work are you looking for?
DUNCAN: On the prose side, we’re leaning towards shorter pieces. We’ve already received a few brilliant flash lyrical essays, and I see that style of CNF helping to shape the book. For poetry, we’re looking for work that really captures the era and culture, rather than just describing or summarizing an iconic movie, show, or fad. Draw either a broader social commentary or personal story into the piece.
ANDERSON: I really want work that shows a personal connection to pop culture icons. If I don’t know the reference, I want you to make me want to know it, to learn it. I want to see something in your work that gives me a sense of what you’re talking about, what you love or loathe about the topic. And as far as the big ones go, well, if you’re going to go down the Kurt Cobain road, you’d better bring your A game. We’ve got an inbox full of Kurt and Courtney.
For prose, the lyric quality is what’s most important to me. I want to see conservation of language and a fluidity almost akin to poetry. My favorite essayists who write in this style are LaToya Jordan, Sheilla Squillante, and Randon Noble.
On the other hand, if you can make me laugh like Allie Brosch from Hyperbole and a Half, go for it.
I’m also super interested in work that subverts or critiques stereotypes. What movie that you loved when you were fifteen makes you cringe now? And why? What singer was more badass than you ever thought? And what the fuck was up with the media always pitting Britney and Christina against each other?
HOPKINSON: Are there certain topics you’d really like to include?
DUNCAN: Personally, I’d love to see more of the late 90s covered. The decade is largely identified by what happened in its first half – grunge and plaid shirts – but there’s a plethora of later movements – nu-metal, the boy band/female pop star boom, the Latin music explosion – that were influential. There’s a lot of discussion to be had about the transformation and evolution of hip hop in the 90s. I’d also love to see topics outside of music, movies, and TV covered, like fashion, sports, toys and games, and the rise of the internet. Overall, diversity in topics and authors is essential. We want to make sure this anthology is inclusive of all pop culture of the decade, experienced by all types of people.
ANDERSON: I’m dying for diversity. In the initial calls we put out I mentioned Bollywood star Shah Rukh Kahn, Sailor Moon, Salt-N-Peppa—all these fandoms that were hugely part of the 90s for lots of different folks, and I’m surprised to not have much on anime, hip hop, or Latin music. Who hasn’t heard a Chris Rock joke or seen an episode of something with subtitles? And, seriously, while we’re a US publisher, the 90s didn’t just happen in the US. Show us what lit you up in the 90s, no matter what you liked.
I also haven’t seen much video game stuff other than Pokemon (another one you’ll have to bring your A game for—I don’t think we’ve caught our Pokemon piece yet) or a Tupac/Biggie elegy which I WANT SO BAD. Also, Seinfeld? Where’s the Seinfeld? There’s a goldmine there. TV in general has not been explored anywhere near as much as music. I mean, with all the Trekkies out there, why no tribute to Captain Janeway?! She was badass.
Also, for the record, my two favorite bands in high school were Hanson and Foo Fighters. So if you can write an opus to either of these bands or their players, I’ll be all like “There goes my hero.” (See what I did there?) Again, bring the A game, because I’ll be going hard when it comes to my faves.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite literary magazines?
DUNCAN: My pop culture go-to journals are Barrelhouse and FreezeRay, and I’ve been a longtime reader of big print journals, like The Boston Review, Black Warrior Review, Fence, and New Orleans Review.
ANDERSON: Barrelhouse. I’ve been reading Barrelhouse since like Issue 2. And when I got into their blog this spring I was like “cool I can die now.” I subscribe to Poetry to keep up with what’s what in PoBiz, but I really tend to read more of the off-beat mags because my work is off-beat and I like reading the weird. I love Yellow Chair Review, who also does lots of work with pop culture. And 32 Poems is always a treat. As an Austin girl, I’ve gotta give a shout out to Bat City Review, which strikes a great balance between traditional and weird. Another mag I subscribe to is HOOT, which is on a postcard every month. (Can you tell I love paper journals? I promise I read lots of online ones, too, like Tinderbox, Thrush, Whale Road Review…lots of things. We could be here all day.)
HOPKINSON: Where can poets/writers send submissions?
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
You can also email editor EKA (me, here we go with the third person) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a specific question about topics or forms or the like. I won’t be critiquing your work or anything like that, though. Try that and I’ll be all like Bye, Felicia.
DEADLINE: August 31, 2016
SUBMISSION FEE: None
PAYMENT: $10 per poem; $0.01 per word for prose
FORMS: poetry, micro and flash fiction, flash essay (lyric essay especially), and hybrid works of no more than 750 words