Peculiar is a LGBTQ+ print and online art and literary journal publishing issues bi-annually since 2015. They just recently opened to national submissions.
I was curious how and why this art and literary journal began, so I asked Co-Editors Jack Garcia and Aaron Gates a few questions to find out. See my interview with them and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about peculiar.
GARCIA: peculiar is a queer literary journal publishing poetry, prose, art, and photography. Based in Provo, Utah, the title is a nod to the Mormon claim of being a “peculiar people” because, let’s face it, being queer is far more peculiar!
HOPKINSON: How/why was peculiar originally started?
GATES: Well, to maybe go a little too far back, Jack and I both grew up outside of Utah. So when we both ended up in Utah for college, we were acutely aware of how the culture differed from many other places. And as queer men who grew up in the Mormon faith, we could see what all was happening on both sides throughout the culture. peculiar started as an effort for us to raise up and shine a light on the voices of queer creators in a culture that often convinces them that they are less than others.
But since then, peculiar has grown and evolved to encompass any queer voice from anywhere. Societies across the globe still have a long way to go to fully embrace and celebrate their queer members. We hope peculiar can give everyone a chance to celebrate the stunning work that comes from queer creators and hopefully continue to encourage dialog and support from those outside the queer community as well.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
GARCIA: Those who are part of the queer community, for starters, but anyone with an interest in art and the written word. Currently our readership exists primarily in the larger cities of Utah, but we hope to expand that audience as we publish queer authors outside of the state.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
GATES: We love work that pushes boundaries of craft and genres. We strive to truly embrace our name, and we love to see what contributors can show us about their unique selves as creators—what makes them peculiar.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
GATES: While we love every submission we receive, most of our submissions are poetry. We receive fewer short stories than we would like, and we would love to see more art submissions.
GARCIA: Yes! More art and prose!
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
GATES: I’m biased since they were the first journal to publish my own work, but I love Sugar House Review. They are run by a wonderful group of people, and their quality is fantastic. I’ve also always had 32 Poems as one of my favorites. Their aesthetic is killer.
GARCIA: Locally, I’m digging this little zine called Pillars of Salt. It’s run by a friend with an aim of publishing women, POC, and LGBTQIA contributors.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
GARCIA: At our website, http://www.peculiarjournal.com/submit.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
GARCIA: Tin cans and a string work pretty effectively if you’re our neighbor. Otherwise, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 8, 2019
FORMAT: print and online
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography