Matador Review is an online literature and art quarterly based in Los Angeles and Chicago. “We publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art. Founded in January 2016, our purpose is to promote ‘alternative work’ from both art and literature, and to encourage respect for online publications. In each issue, we offer a selection of work from both emerging and established artists, as well as exclusive interviews and book reviews from creators who are, above all else, provocative. Past contributors include Damian Van Denburgh, Rachelle Cruz, Heidi Seaborn, Jeremy Radin, Marguerite L. Harrold, and others.”
It was time for an updated interview, so I asked Social Media & Development Coordinator Mandy Grathwohl a few questions and she kindly replied. See my interview with Grathwohl and submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Matador Review is celebrating their third year, what has been the most rewarding?
GRATHWOHL: Definitely the variety of people that we have been able to publish and interview. We have access to some of the most tender, delicate parts of a person’s life when they choose to publish with us or speak to us for an interview, and in this way we’re able to connect on a deep level with people we’ll likely never meet in person. The internet can be incredibly divisive, but also incredibly unifying, and that is, I think, what has been most rewarding about being around for these three years. We collectively have friends across the globe now, talented and empathetic people, who we never would have had without Matador.
HOPKINSON: What have you learned along the way about your contributors and your readers?
GRATHWOHL: If there were one word to describe them, it would be “devoted.” We have contributors submit multiple times, because they know their work fits with us, and over time we’ve had so many go from readers to contributors. It may take a while for their work to fit with the issue we’re putting together, but it’s always so heartwarming to have someone whose name we recognize actually be in our pages, finally. And these contributors, as well as the readers, they talk about us on social media and share our stories and poems and interviews and artwork, and it creates this great sense of community that really shows us the true connecting nature of the internet.
HOPKINSON: Has the Matador Review aesthetic changed over the last few years?
GRATHWOHL: From a development perspective, I think we’ve just been cementing it. We’ve done slight updates to the site, and larger updates to how we use social media to promote ourselves—we tried to be pretty image-friendly for a while, but realized that simplicity was where we gained the most traction.
HOPKINSON: What do you want potential contributors to consider before submitting?
GRATHWOHL: Take the time to read the type of work we’ve published in the past. Many times we get submissions that just don’t seem to fit with our aesthetic, and we know that denials hurt—so take a look and see what of your work might best fit with us, first.
HOPKINSON: What do you want your readers to know about how you select contributors?
GRATHWOHL: On the technical side, a well put-together document is much easier for us to read. Double-spacing when it comes to prose, a good font for poetry, etc. On the more emotional side, we’re really just looking for, well, what most other magazines are looking for: something that pulls at us emotionally and succeeds in accomplishing a story, whether that’s in a poem, essay, story, and so on. We’ve always said we want the weird, provocative, off-kilter stuff, but that in itself can span so many genres. We really just select contributors based off of how well they accomplish that storytelling, and how well we remember the story long after we’ve quit reading.
HOPKINSON: What’s the most exciting part of publishing a new issue?
GRATHWOHL: It feels like the holiday season, honestly. Except every few months. There’s all of this hustle and bustle, it’s chaotic, at times stressful, because you’re trying to make everybody happy and you have a time limit: the deadline to publish. We’re a small team, so there are three of us (with occasional help from others) putting together this massive endeavor in the span of a few days. There are times we’ve pulled all-nighters, or our schedules haven’t correlated (especially since we’re across the country from each other now) and we’ve had to work solo for a bit, but in the end, that’s sort of part of the excitement. This is something we’ve never been paid for, so this is all just us on our own time putting together something that we’re passionate about because we’re passionate about stories and visuals that typically aren’t presented in other literary magazines. What’s exciting is that, after all of the chaos, there is this feeling of relief and gratification that we did it again, and we did our best, and hopefully people enjoy what we’re doing.
HOPKINSON: Where can poets send their submissions?
GRATHWOHL: Poets can send submissions to our email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We request that the subject line of the email reads as “Submission: Name, Title” (for example, “Submission: Jane Smith 5 poems”).
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: August 31, 2019
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: poetry, fiction, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, and visual art