Calvin Pennix, our featured writer for July, shared his thoughts with us about the inspiration and determination it takes to launch a poetry journal. Calvin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and lives with his wife and daughter in Mission Viejo, CA. He is currently an instructor at Everest College, where he teaches Composition, American Literature, Critical Thinking, and Algebra. He is the founding editor of quarter after/quarter after press, a place for poetry, poetics, and art.
Calvin’s first book of poetry, Grounds, was published by Argotist Books, his second collection, Around/About, was published by Differentia Press and his chapbook, All Dried Up, was published by quarter after press. Calvin has been a featured artist at Counterexample Poetics and has had his poetry recently appear in Mad Hatters Review Blog, On Barcelona, Otoliths, Certain Circuits, experiential-experimental-literature, The Altered Scale, and Upstairs at Duroc.
What inspired to you start quarter after? All of the great work I have encountered over the years is what inspired me to start a journal, and I had been telling myself that I was going to do it once I completed my MFA. There are so many artists producing outstanding work in the world, and I have always wanted to be a part of showcasing great work – of course the “great” I speak of is totally subjective.
I had carried on an internal brainstorming for a couple of years: what I wanted to present; what I didn’t want to present; different mediums, titles, etc. Finally, I had enough of a complete idea of what I wanted the journal to be that I sat down one night last November, and put the site up. Thus far there are three arms of quarter after: the journal, the press – there are three published collections, with four more coming by summer’s end – and the dialogue/interview series – the first of which will be up this month. I don’t want to do too much at once, but there is much more coming from quarter after.
How do you decide what work to include in your magazine? As of now, editorial staff at quarter after consists of myself and…me, so all work presented is stuff that I like. There is a wide range of work in the first two issues because I am into a wide range of poetry/art. If an artist submits and I’m into it, it’s in. Submissions have been coming in with great pace, so for the past six/seven months, 90% of all of my reading has been quarter after submissions, which has been some great reading.
I have been lucky to have some of my favorite artists included in the journal and/or press thus far. Some I have reached out to, others have seen a call for submission somewhere and submitted. To be able to showcase the work of artists that I had admired before I started quarter after is a very exciting experience, and I hope this trend continues.
Is there anything you’d like to share about your own writing process? I’m not exactly sold on my process. Maybe because it’s non-existent. I mean, I do write – not as much as I wish – but I don’t have a definitive process. Maybe my process is that I don’t have a process. One thing I will say is that, for me, reading always leads to writing.
To thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and work with us we would like to have you select a cause for us to highlight and support this month. Which cause do you recommend? It’s not a very specific cause, but being an educator, a product of public schools, and an artist, keeping the arts in public education is something that I am a huge advocate for. The arts are a pivotal part of a well-rounded education and everybody should be exposed to the arts at an early age. More about this can be found here: http://www.causes.com/causes/3257-keep-the-arts-in-public-schools, a site you are already familiar with, but nonetheless…
Follow quarter after on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quarter-After/266745836740858 or check out their website at: http://quarterafter.org/.
Think quarter after might want to read your work? Submit to them here: http://quarterafter.org/quarter-after-press/