Empty Mirror is an online literary and arts magazine established in 2000 that publishes poetry, essays on literary or art-related topics, criticism, personal essays, articles, features, book reviews, interviews, and art. They are currently open for submissions for a special LGBTQ+ Pride issue, guest edited by poet Danielle Rose. Her debut chapbook, at first & then, will be published by Black Lawrence Press in early ’21.
As a long time fan of Empty Mirror, I wanted to know more about this special issue, so I asked guest editor Danielle Rose a few questions to find out more. See my interview with Rose and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: How/why was the Empty Mirror LGBTQ+ Pride Issue originally created?
ROSE: I relish the banal, and this was utterly banal. Denise [Enck of Empty Mirror] and I realized awhile back that we share very compatible ideas about literature--likely stemming from our shared interest in the beatniks. So when the topic came up about six months ago as a corollary to Empty Mirror's 20th anniversary, we made a loose plan for me to come in as a guest editor for an issue. I suppose the timing just worked. While finalizing our plan Denise asked if there was a theme or an otherwise organizing idea I might be interested in pursuing. Since the date we had previously selected was at the end of June, a LGBTQ+ Pride issue was just too apt to pass over.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
ROSE: What do I desire? Well-written pieces that hit like a ton of bricks. But gosh that is a high bar to just throw out there.
Every call like this (limited, specific, focused) bends what might usually be considered "the rules." Of course, pieces that engage with queerness is a baseline--so we have a different set of rules already, although I hold wide definitions of "queerness" as experiences can be diffuse and extremely individualized.
Which perhaps begins to drill into the idea of there being something I might want.
Though to be honest, I rarely know what I am looking for until I find it. This simply means that I am not the arbiter of queer experience. I desire to be surprised and delighted; or any other less joyful but similar reaction depending on the subject matter. Make me laugh. Make me reconsider. Make me cry. It doesn't matter as long as the light shines with skill and grace.
I want to hear about you and everyone else. I want the world in my palm only to realize there are millions of worlds each rich with the possibility for such meaning.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
ROSE: It would be a lie if I did not quickly name Empty Mirror as one of my absolute favorite publications. But this is merely a personal concordance as I explained above. Barring the list of the "bigger" journals I have been intrigued and interested in a few smaller outfits which are doing very interesting things. Kanstellation has recently come onto the scene as a paying, science-adjacent publication which has quickly attracted some really fantastic talent. Pidgeonholes constantly gives back to the community while also publishing some great, great, great work. Random Sample Review is driven by some really fantastic folks and they have published some of my favorite "weird" pieces over the past few years.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of guest editing?
ROSE: That it ends! No, really. Being able to step into an established journal's editorial process, do my thing, then be able to wash my hands and walk away with pride is really quite lovely. My responsibility is for one thing, and I can put everything into making that one thing to the best of my ability. I mean that there are far fewer distractions than one might encounter in a staff position. This is, I am sorry, another one of those simply banal things. But banality is at the heart of all this writing. The extraordinary exists only in comparison, and queerness is a comparison.
Have you ever considered that a simile follows the structural concepts of queerness? To compare something like something else is to measure a length of distance between them. And I suppose this all comes back to "what do I want?" and the answer now becomes that I want to see how writers measure that distance or whatever it is they do when we encounter gaps that must be filled.
HOPKINSON: Where can LGBTQ+ writers/artists send submissions?
ROSE: Submissions are handled through Empty Mirror's Submittable platform.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
ROSE: The best way to get in contact with me would be to send me a DM on Twitter, @danirosepoet. I would be happy to address any questions or concerns there.
DEADLINE: June 12, 2020
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: nonfiction, poetry, and art
SUBMISSION METHOD: Submittable
SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook, Twitter