Carambola is also known as star fruit, a beautiful yellow and the inspiration for the first poem. “Ascent” reflects on the negative aspects of heritage or ancestry and how we can choose to leave the negativity behind and move forward.
Isacoustic is an intriguing new print and online poetry journal recently founded by poet Barton Smock. They are quick to respond to submissions and offer payment of $15. You can read past issues on their web site to get a feel for their aesthetic.
I wondered how and why this poetry journal came to be, so I asked founder and editor Barton Smock a few questions to find out. See my interview with Smock and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Isacoustic originally started?
SMOCK: I turned 42 this year. Have four children- 19, 17, 14, and 9. My youngest has a progressive muscle and brain disorder. I’ve been self-publishing on-demand my own work since 2011. There is so much love here, but also, worry and tunnel vision. I’m very introverted, and was writing very inwardly, and reading Franz Wright almost exclusively. So, with all that, I wanted my children, who see me on social media being…inward…, I wanted them to see me do something with what I love, and to do it by being someone outside of their perception of me. Also, I’d built up an audience on wordpress, tumblr, etc…that I thought I could redirect to the work of others. I thought it would be this small thing, where I’d publish poets I’ve known and admired, such as Brian Dawson, Gillian Prew, Jill Chan…more recently, Jon Cone. Many more. And I wanted it to be fast…response time, whether accepted or rejected…and I wanted to be able to pay the contributors…which is why the site is a wordpress site and why I use on-demand publishing for the approximately tri-monthly volumes of isacoustic*. I have a few friends and a few brothers who I ask to read sometimes, but the whole endeavor outside of that is just me.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
SMOCK: I guess I would say those able to tell a thing is being done honestly. Even if they have to revisit it before it becomes, to them, hotel or home.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
SMOCK: Work that either has in it a great avoidance, or a sudden thing, or both. Any work that writes legibly toward the current moment with intelligence, kindness, or anger.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
SMOCK: Would like to receive work with heavier imagery, or work that is more abstract. But that’s just a personal preference. I try to give all work its space to be in its own created oblivion.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
SMOCK: I am more of a press/publisher acolyte. Copper Canyon. Noemi. Nightboat Books. Action Books, always. Recently, Five Oaks Press.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: Open year-round
FORMAT: Print and Online
SUBMISSION FEE: None