The Minison Project is a new online literary magazine publishing their own invented form called a minison (14 letter poem), sonnets, photographs of found/staged minimal sonnets, and minison-themed artwork. They publish monthly zines and bi-annual sonnet issues. They are currently open for both until January 31, but are open to submissions for the monthly zines year-round on a rolling basis. See my interview with Editor-in-Chief Melissa Ashley Hernandez and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Minison Project. How was The Minison Project originally started?
HERNANDEZ: Tom Snarsky and Jo Ianni are credited with popularizing the form of the minimal sonnet, or “minison” for short, which is a very small poetic form with only one rule: make a poem with only fourteen letters total. When Tom and Jo collaborated on a micro-chapbook using this 14-letter format, they decided to share their work, and it invited other inventive poets to create beautiful art in this wonderfully small constraint (cf. Michael O’Brien’s collection of minisons). That’s when the two decided that it was time to start a passion project.
The first call they did was simply for minimal sonnets, which they put together in August of 2020 on a webpage hosted by NeutralSpaces (our “Issue 0”). The success of that call led to an informal zine release in September (“Issue 1”), and then another call for submissions to do a zine release in October (“Issue 2”). After submissions for Issue 2 closed on the first of October, Tom and I got to talking and, with blessing from him and Jo, I had somehow agreed to be the mother of this beautiful literary magazine.
HOPKINSON: Why did you decide to start The Minison Project?
HERNANDEZ: Really all we want, as a magazine, is to help writers (both new and seasoned) overcome their writer’s block while bringing love to this new little form! We also want to open the door for our writers to explore the form and build upon it. You can already see small evolutions of it with the 14 letter/14 line poems, the 14 word poems, and the fun acrostics we’ve showcased!
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
HERNANDEZ: Our target is anybody who has ever appreciated the classic sonnet and anybody who appreciates short form poetry. We welcome everybody because we have something for everybody!
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
HERNANDEZ: We’re a constraint magazine, so we’re pretty strict about our guidelines. For our Monthly Issue submissions, we are looking for minisons – single, plural, visual, conceptual, mystical, natural, emoji, translations, or anything that encapsulates the spirit of a minimal sonnet, like long-form (eg. 14 lines, 14 letters per line)! Also, Artwork, Illustrations, or Photography of minison poetry (found or otherwise) or groups of fourteen found out in the world, (e.g. on the side of a WESTERN EXPRESS eighteen-wheeler, or a patch of 14 pumpkins). If you are still a bit confused, give our past issues a quick read!
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
HERNANDEZ: ARTWORK. We almost never get artwork! I want so desperately to see beautiful minisons in as many mediums as possible! And I know it’s silly to say, but we don’t get nearly enough minisons either!
HOPKINSON: Who are some of your favorite poets?
HERNANDEZ: If we’re talking well-known poets: Sandra Cisneros, Elizabeth Acevedo, Kim Addonizio, Billy Collins, Rudy Francisco.
If we’re talking emerging poets: Taylor Byas, Lindsey Heatherly, Jeni De La O, Isaura Ren.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with The Minison Project?
HERNANDEZ: My favorite part would have to be seeing all the wonderful work inspired by this new little form. I’m so very much in love with it and to be able to share it with others and have them become truly inspired by it is a very rewarding feeling.
HOPKINSON: Where can we send submissions?
HERNANDEZ: We have started using google forms, so you can submit from a link right from either the Monthly Submissions or the Sonnet Submissions pages. I like using forms because it feels more approachable; a lot of newbie writers tend to feel intimidated by the structure of a formal email, so I cut out the middleman!
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
HERNANDEZ: We are very responsive through our Twitter DMs, but we are speedy with our responses on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and email, all of which can be found on our contact page!
MONTHLY ZINE DEADLINE: January 31, 2021 (rolling)
BI-ANNUAL SONNET ISSUE DEADLINE: January 31, 2021
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: minison (14 letter poem), sonnets, photographs of found/staged minimal sonnets, and minison-themed artwork
ISSUE FREQUENCY: monthly zines, bi-annual sonnet issues
SUBMISSION METHOD: Google Forms
SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS: Yes
PAYMENT: “We are currently an unpaying market, but we do promote contributor work on our social medias.”
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