Samuel Amadon and Liz Countryman on Oversound
Tell me about the creation of Oversound. When and how and why was it conceived?
As graduate students, we worked together as Poetry Editors for Gulf Coast, and the way our aesthetic interests combined there made the four issues we helped put together pretty exciting. But the nature of a graduate student-run journal is that there is necessarily a lot of compromise, space restrictions, and constant editorial turnover. So we always talked about starting a journal of our own. As writers, we're both very much against the notion of aesthetic categories, and we want Oversound to be a place where writers who might not otherwise come across one another's work can do so. We also felt a lot of our contemporaries have been starting presses and chapbook presses, and that there was a need for a print poetry journal—one that could do a little to fill the gap left by great journals like No and The Canary and Crowd. Oversound offers poets a largely unrestricted space—we accept poems of any length, and we love including several poems by a particular poet. We want Oversound to be a venue where readers can become immersed and invested in our contributors' work.
What makes Oversound different from other places to encounter poetry?
Oversound doesn't do themed issues, but as we start to gather accepted poems for an issue, we're very attentive to the ways in which the poems speak to one another. Once we reach a critical mass of accepted poems, we might be more drawn to accept poems that will add to or complicate that conversation. When we actually put the poems in an order, we think of their progression the same way we would think of the movement of poems in a collection by a single author, and we hope that readers will read Oversound straight through, from beginning to end.
What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?
We were really excited to publish Adrienne Raphel's poem "Imogen And the Beginning Of Color" in the new issue. We asked Adrienne if we could see some poems after reading "Note From Paradise" in an issue of Lana Turner—often a way we find new poets for the magazine is by reading around—and we were floored when she sent us this stunner, so much so that we put it first in an issue that's brimming with really exciting work. It's a poem that feels both bizarre and essential. It's up on our website if readers want to see what we mean. (Chop chop, readers, chop chop.)
What should someone submitting work to Oversound know about the site and magazine?
Oversound is a labor of love, and although the journal is still finding readers, we are passionate about the poems we publish and we do our best to spread the word about the journal, and our contributors' accomplishments elsewhere, whenever we can. By posting selections from each issue online, we're also able to draw readers through social media sharing. Ari Banias's amazing poem "The Feeling," which starts off our first issue, got hundreds of likes on Facebook and was reprinted by Verse Daily.
What other literary sites, journals, or broadcasts, online or print, are your go-to?
Boston Review's poetry section, especially their National Poetry Month feature, has led us to many wonderful writers. We first learned of Oversound contributor Amber Atiya there by reading her astounding poem "when the end is near." We love print, and we especially respect journals with strong editorial vision—Lana Turner, as we mentioned, and Conjunctions are two examples. We're also excited by online spaces like The Offing and The Volta, which are able to feature so many different kinds of writing.