Kate Garrett is a poet and an editor. In this interview we will discover more about her editorial work.
1) What makes your magazine /journals different from others on the market?
I don’t know, I didn’t set them up to really be anything in relation to other publications, they are just what I wanted them to be – Picaroon is for “rogue” poems, work that might be too odd or outspoken for other markets. Three Drops from a Cauldron is for folkore/myth poems but for everyone regardless of geography/nationality, age, race, sexuality, gender identity, disability, etc – I love myth and lore from all perspectives. Bonnie’s Crew was originally set up to raise money and awareness for a heart charity, but it’s now a place people come to read gentler poems about being human, or poems that will give them a moment of calm.
2) What’s your mission at Three Drops from a Cauldron?
Actually, apart from indulging my own love of reading work based in myths, lore, magic, superstition, legend, and son on – another side of our mission is to show that myth/folklore/fairy tale/legend-themed writing has more scope than people sometimes think. I’ve seen people say ‘folklore poems’ as if the very idea leaves a bad taste in their mouths, that ‘political’ poems are somehow superior… and while I appreciate a good political poem, and agree they are very important, I’ve published poems that are both of those things – mythical and political. In addition to this, many of our poems are personal to the author, the stories have a lot more to say than just ‘here is some magic happening’ or a direct retelling of an old tale. These things – myth, folklore, legend – are ingrained in all of us and fanciful stories are not always told just for the sake of it. There is often more under the surface.
3) How has expanding your team changed things?
Well, it’s definitely made the seasonal specials a lot more interesting and fun! I took on our readers and editorial staff for seasonal specials (Samhain, Midwinter, Beltane) specifically, and to help out with our early themed print anthologies. While I try to keep a wide range of readers in mind when selecting work, it’s definitely easier to do that with seven other people going over the submissions. Sadly, we won’t be doing any more themed print anthologies, and our seasonal specials will be ending with Midwinter 2018 (submissions open 1 November, and it will be published in December), but the team have said they will still be around if I need them. They’ve also expanded our audience by sharing Three Drops with quite different groups of people – their own social media friends and followers – which is wonderful.
4) Do you have a theme for each issue?
No, for the regular web journal issues, there is no set theme. Themes might arise in each issue of my three web journals – Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Bonnie’s Crew – but it’s not intentional.
5) How should writers contact you?
By email please. Three Drops: email@example.com
Picaroon Poetry: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie’s Crew: email@example.com
6) What’s your day like as an editor?
It varies wildly – because I have five kids, currently four journals (as well as people’s pamphlets in print) to publish, and health issues. One day I might not do any editing at all – I might do some writing instead, I might have to have a full housework day, or a day resting, or there might be appointments for the kids. On the days I do edit, the weekday mornings always start with coffee, then giving Saoirse and Bonnie breakfast after the husband and three teenage sons have left the house, exciting mumsy things like that… After the girls have settled, if it’s a Saturday/Sunday/Monday I am probably responding to submissions. If it’s any other day I might be formatting a book or a journal issue, designing a cover, scheduling posts on the webzine format mags, proofreading. It’s organised chaos.
7) How do you edit? / What are you looking for?
Most of all, I’m looking for work that moves me. I’m not concerned with how much the writer has been published, what degrees they have, what competitions they’ve won – I don’t even read bios until I’ve read the submission itself. A writer with no publication credits could send a poem or flash fiction or creative nonfiction that blows my mind, and maybe a writer who has won every possible contest and has a PhD could send their least impressive work – I will accept the pieces that make me feel something regardless of who wrote them.
8) What’s your final advice to writers?
Probably the same advice most people give – keep writing, keep READING (I cannot stress how important it is to read if you’re a writer; apart from improving your craft, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be published if they don’t like books…), and don’t take rejection too hard. Rejections seem to upset people more than anything, it seems, and honestly they are just part of the whole writing game. Everyone gets them. Being a bit of a melancholy person, I actually expect them! Take a step back, look for any positives you can take from it (I always look at my work again, and sometimes – though not always – in the harsh glare of a rejection things appear that might need more work), know that selections for journals, anthologies, and pamphlets/collections/novels/everything else are made based on a number of factors, and try again.
Check in later to find out more about Bonnie’s Crew when we chat to Kate this evening.