Noctua Review is the annual art and literary magazine produced by the Southern Connecticut State University MFA program. It was the brain child of Graduate Student (now Professor) Lois Lake Church and launched its inaugural issue in 2008. Their theme for 2018 is “Instinct”: “Moving with the heart, not the head. Trusting ourselves. Pushing away the voices in our minds calling out you can't or it won't work or be sensible. Sometimes, we can't be sensible. Sometimes, we just have to jump off the cliff, telling ourselves that yes, there is water down there. Knowing that there is water down there, without even looking. Knowing something without knowing how or why we know it.”
This time last year they published one of my found poems “Sonnet Zero” and sent me a beautiful copy in print.
I wondered how and why this lit mag came to be, so I asked Editor in Chief Elizabeth Wager and she kindly replied. See my interview with Wager and submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Noctua Review originally started?
WAGER: Southern’s MFA program is fairly young, and the journal was started in 2008 to bolster support and provide publishing opportunities for the students enrolled in the program. At first, it was just a school-wide journal, but in 2012, we opened submissions to the general writing public. With the growth of the program, we were able to expand our reach and publication distribution. Even though now, in large part, our submissions come from outside our student body, the journal is still very much a part of the program; since the beginning, the editors and staff are all SCSU MFA graduate students, and the only work done outside of the program is the physical publication. We take care of the rest.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
WAGER: I don’t know if we have a “type” of work specifically–we just look for strong writing. We have pretty quick turnover in terms of staffing, so personal preferences and tastes are constantly shifting and evolving. I know that I, personally, enjoy work that uses clear sentences and grammar/syntax, and that isn’t confusing or obfuscating just for the sake of being confusing or obfuscating. I enjoy a good metaphor, strong imagery, and engaging dialogue. Our theme this year is “Instinct,” which is broad enough to encompass a lot of different perspectives, but still provides a kind of framework for the issue as a comprehensive whole.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
WAGER: I have a soft spot for formal verse, and, while we do get a bit each year, I’d love more of it! I’m a sucker for a solid villanelle or ghazal!
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite journals?
WAGER: I’m woefully behind on keeping up with current magazines and journals! But some of my top ones (and sorry they’re all poetry-focused, but that’s my genre–in case you couldn’t tell by this point) include Able Muse, 32 Poems, Measure, Rattle, Adroit, and Unsplendid.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
WAGER: For poetry and fiction, we work with Submittable, and our site is https://noctuareview.submittable.com/submit.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
WAGER: They can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by going on our website, where we have an online form they could fill out.
DEADLINE: December 31, 2017
FORMAT: digitally online and print
SUBMISSION FEE: None
PAYMENT: While we cannot offer payment at this time, contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which they appear.
FORMS: poetry, fiction, visual art