Blue Mesa Review (BMR) is a literary magazine published online by the creative writing department at the University of New Mexico. They are currently open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction until the end of February, as well as artwork until March 15, 2019.
I wondered how and why this literary magazine came to be, so I asked Editor-in-Chief Hayley Peterson and she kindly replied. See my interview with Peterson and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Blue Mesa Review.
PETERSON: We publish two issues a year—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We offer free submissions during our general reading period, and we pay our contributors a small honorarium. (It’s not enough, yet, but it’s something.) Retaining these principals is extremely important to our team of editors. While money isn’t the only barrier to writers getting their work published, we see it as one barrier we have the power to control as a literary magazine. We want to make it possible for as many voices and perspectives to reach our submission queue as possible.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Blue Mesa Review originally started?
PETERSON: Blue Mesa Review was founded by Rudolfo Anaya (Bless Me, Ultima) in 1986. Our origin story hasn’t traveled well into the 2000s, but I would guess that New Mexico’s lack of representation in the literary world was part of the impetus for starting BMR.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
PETERSON: We’re a Southwest lit mag, but we’re not limited to Southwest topics or a Southwest readership. We love to publish a wide variety of work—from experimental to traditional forms and styles—that takes hold of us and resounds in us for a long, long time.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
PETERSON: We look for new perspectives we haven’t read before. I know, I know—everyone claims to be on the lookout for that vague and abstract thing—but it’s true. We’ve read travel stories, love stories, political rants, poems about flowers or rain: what makes your work different from the work to come before? The pieces we’ve published fall into those same categories, but they take us beyond our previous understanding, beyond ourselves, or even the collective “self,” and they do it with surprising imagery, skillful style and voice, and a sense of rawness and life.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but never comes in?
PETERSON: Hm… this is a tough one. I’d say, during this day and age, we’d love to see more politically motivated narratives and pieces coming in. Not just responses to modern politics, but writing that furthers the conversations we’re having as a society right now. Those are the types of things that resonate, if done well.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite journals?
PETERSON: Some of the lit mags we have a crush on at BMR are: Split Lip, No Tokens, Room, The Offing, and Manzano Mountain Review.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
PETERSON: Check us out on Submittable at bluemesareview.submittable.com. All info and submission guidelines are listed there!
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: February 28, 2019, for artwork – March 15, 2019
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction