The Editors on Smoking Glue Gun
Tell me about the creation of Smoking Glue Gun. When and how and why was it conceived?
In 2011 we had just graduated from LSU, where we were involved in multiple reading series and literary outputs. We were leaving a buzzing, excited community of self-publishers & arts events, and we weren't sure if we'd continue in academia. We wanted to find a way to stay connected to publishing, writing, and organizing community events. We were also surrounded by young, talented, mostly unpublished writers & wanted to create a venue to showcase their work outside the Baton Rouge area. The opportunity of creating a visual gallery via an online magazine intrigued us: going online meant we could publish art in multiple genres--hybrid or mixed media work, sound, visual art--without being bound to printing, distribution & upstart costs. Plus, we frequently read plenty of online literary magazines, but could only afford to subscribe to two print ones. So the fact that an online magazine would be free to any reader who could access the Internet was a big motivator. We decided to start an online quarterly, so as to keep our content fresh and ever changing.
The name Smoking Glue Gun came from the title of a poem by a dear friend & poet Tommy Jacobi. When we came across the poem, we decided it was perfect for the magazine: it smells of messy creativity and a hint of anarchy, like getting caught in the act of simultaneously creating and destroying. We planned to handle all of the magazine responsibilities on our own with as little out-of-pocket funding as possible, so the DIY nature of the name seemed to fit.
What makes SGG different from other places to encounter poetry on the internet?
One thing that sets Smoking Glue Gun apart is our staff--a straight up democracy of two. We collaborate on everything, from aesthetics & vision, to editing, ordering & designing the magazine and chapbooks. We are the only readers for the Smoking Glue Gun and each of us reads every submission before sitting down on our couch to discuss them. This has allowed us to keep a cohesive vision for the magazine and publish exactly what we feel is important without any restrictions or restraints. We look for work that creates discomfort, that tests or completely disregards the rules. An author whose voice is completely their own, writing with risk and chutzpah. Often we find these qualities in the work of new writers who have only been published a handful of times—or not at all—and we love using Smoking Glue Gun as a venue for readers to access their work.
Smoking Glue Gun is also unusual because we are not strictly literary. Our submission guidelines say "we accept original unpublished art in all forms." Although the majority of our submissions are poetry, we look to publish hybrid genre, fiction, erasure, photography, sculpture, music, vocal performance, and things that fall in or outside genre completely (see: Donald Dunbar's recording from Venus Edamame, Adam Atkinson's "America 2099", and scans from Douglas Kearney's journal for SkinMag). Our archives are full of fantastic oddities like these (hint—just scroll to the bottom of any Smoking Glue Gun page to easily access a volume or artist.)
What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?
We released Volume 10 in June and were thrilled to publish two poems from a manuscript in progress called "White Girl Noir" by Rachel Burns. Burns is a young upstart poet, and her poems are funny and brutal, dripping with feminine malaise, and completely her own. Apathetically titled "im tired" and "nothing erotica," the poems drip with high-school-esque boredom ("i'd like to get etherized / rather than roofied like / any classically beautiful object") & empowered femininity ("my body isn't / dimensionally petite enough / to be the slick pink type of sex"). Reading Burn's work gives the feeling of a clean cut to the heart with a pastel knife.
i looked like the kind of girl
to wear glitter lingerie
i felt like the kind of girl
born in the violent hours.
(from "im tired," Smoking Glue Gun Volume 10)
We were really excited to get a hold of her work & can't wait to see more of "White Girl Noir" in the future. Volume 10 also includes stellar poems by Sam Sax, Noelle Kocot, Gina Abelkop & Jenn Marie Nunes, to name a few.
What should someone submitting work to SGG know about the site?
We're drawn to work that is flashy, that engages in gender play, that is grotesque or minimalist or experimental, or that simply creates a vision of humanity that we, as fellow humans, can connect to. As we mentioned above, we're delighted by work the leaves the page--performance, collage, installation, etc--and we're open to the unusual. And we're sure you've heard it before, but we like to get the feeling that the submitter has read some of Smoking Glue Gun. We keep our archives easily accessible, so it's easy to click around and see the work we're drawn to.
What other literary sites, journals, or broadcasts, online or print, are your go-to?
We're constantly finding new magazines and presses with bounties of exciting work, so in a way what we read is constantly shifting. Some of the magazines we've been following for years, or that have shaped our understanding of publishing are Action, Yes!, Fence, Conduit, Octopus, Coconut, Montevidayo, H_NGM_N, & Handsome. We're also really excited about some blow-away magazines that were born around the same time as us: ILK, TENDE RLOIN, and Similar:Peaks::.