Thoughts from the Editor
Over on LitBridge today there’s an interview with our tall drink of water and editor-in-chief Simmons Buntin. Here’s an excerpt; read the whole thing over at www.litbridge.com/2013/04/05/interview-with-terrain-org.
What sort of qualities do you look for in a manuscript or piece of work that you are considering for publication?
Surprise, delight, tone, voice—you know, excellence. What we seek is place-based work that sings (sometimes literally). That’s broad, I realize, but if you look at Terrain.org, you’ll find we like a variety of work in a variety of styles. In nearly every case, however, the work is eloquent, concise, and questioning. It has a sense of place, or a yearning to find that sense. What we don’t want is the stuff everyone has read before, or that feels like that—the nature walk, the suburbs are bad, the end of the world. Unless it knocks are socks off, which sometimes it does. And we don’t like typos.
Between Simmons B. Buntin and Megan Kimble
For the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment’s Proximities blog, Eric Magrane asked Terrain.org editor-in-chief Simmons B. Buntin and assistant editor Megan Kimble to engage in a conversation on art and environment. This will be the first of two upcoming Proximities conversations that will be cross-posted between Terrain.org and the Institute of the Environment. The next will be a conversation between Eric Magrane and Rafe Sagarin on the intersections between biomimicry, adaptation, and art.
Follow the link for a bit of the conversation, or read the full conversation at www.environment.arizona.edu/proximities.
By Simmons Buntin
For Terrain.org, it’s difficult to measure success at a conference like the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference and bookfair, which this year drew well over 11,000 people. We’re not selling books or broadsides or subscriptions, so there’s no financial gauge. Instead, we’re promoting access to our online journal, which is free (and ad-free); talking with publishers about review, excerpt, and content-sharing possibilities; and mostly encouraging writers who have never heard of us to submit, though like most journals we can accept so little of what we receive.
This year felt to me a lot like New York, when we were on the third floor. It was a lovely space, but two flights up from the main bookfair area and didn’t get much traffic. In Boston, the second floor clearly didn’t get as much foot traffic as the first, and that’s a problem since we pay the same amount. But the projector and screen worked out well, and though I’m not sure it helped draw folks over from across the vast room, it did at least catch peoples’ attention as they walked the long rows of table after table.
I do feel like we made some great connections, helped get the word out on our unique journal, which has been publishing online for more than 15 years, and learned a good bit about how to approach the next conference (whether AWP in Seattle in 2014 or something/somewhere else).
By Simmons Buntin
If you’re one of the other 11,000 writers, editors, publishers, educators, and friends who will be in Boston this week for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference, I hope you’ll join us at one of Terrain.org’s happenings: our Bookfair table (R18), contributor signings, and our “Wild Lives / Raucous Pens” literary reading. It will be, as they say, the bomb!
Also, this starts the first of what I hope will be daily AWP blog updates. A sample:
So what does an editor such as myself bring to read on such a journey? A handful of unread creative nonfiction submissions, the latest issues of Poets & Writers and Outdoor Photography, and a handful of poetry books I’ve been meaning to read over the last 18 months or so, including In the Songbird Laboratory, by Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Heavenly Bodies, by Cynthia Huntington, Tropicalia, by Emma Trelles, Beyond Heart Mountain, by Lee Ann Roripaugh, and Blue Horses Rush In, by Luci Tapahonso. I just finished Derek Sheffield’s Through the Second Skin, which is just wonderful. I’m looking forward to these other collections, and find airplane flights, with their strange white noise, to be perfect venues for reading verse.
By Simmons B. Buntin
Jake Adam York: August 10, 1972 – December 16, 2012
Simmons’s tribute to Jake is published today in Essay Daily…
Because there is blood streaming from his side, a man is screaming. This is not a metaphor. Because the wound has split the taught muscle beneath his arm, he is flailing like a snared fish, the panorama of his tattoos turned to bright scales among the dark spray. Because I am not the angler, I am a bystander. Because I am only a bystander, I do not dial 9-1-1 when the man stumbles into the coffee shop on Colfax and Lipan, though others do. Because I am killing time at a coffee shop on Wednesday morning waiting for the memorial service of Jake Adam York, I am a witness. Though I am one of many witnesses, I am in this alone.
I have been reading Jake’s essay “Recovery: Learning the Music of History” because recovery is the right word for how we attempt to go about our lives after someone we care about suddenly dies, as my friend Jake Adam York did on December 16, following a massive stroke. Because in that long essay I can return in some small sense to the man I’ve known and admired for twenty-two years, and because even if we can’t truly recover, his words become a living text. Because they offer renewal.
For the past 15 years, Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments has published the web’s richest mix of literary and technical place-based contributions in two themed issues per year. We began in 1997 with columns, poetry, essays, fiction, articles, the Unsprawl case study, and the ARTerrain gallery. Since then we’ve added sections for reviews, an interview, and To Know a Place. In that time we’ve also had just three website designs, including the current design for the last (dare we say it) nine years.
In December, however, we’ll launch a complete website redesign, and more…
It’s not often that I endorse something not affiliated with Terrain.org, but I wanted to take a moment — with the looming April 12th deadline — to promote the Wildbranch Writing Workshop, sponsored by Sterling College and Orion magazine in Craftsbury Common, Vermont. The weeklong workshop this year is June 24-30, and features Christopher Cokinos, [...]
Oceans rise gradually; the climate changes imperceptibly. News, on the other hand, is action—event, explosion, transformation. As New York Times science journalist Andrew Revkin put it: “You will never see a headline that says ‘Climate change broke out today.’” So how do we make climate change—and science—headline-worthy without sensationalizing or simplifying nuanced issues? Dedicated science [...]
After the fire, comes the flood — and then another summer. In a story on Arizona Public Media, forestry and fire experts acknowledged that the wildfires that burned more than one million acres of Arizona’s forests and grasslands this summer could have been made less severe with better forest management techniques — but also that wildfires [...]
Terrain.org’s Editor-in-Chief, Simmons Buntin, made the trip to AWP’s annual conference. This year it was held in Washington D.C., attracting thousands of writers from around the country and beyond. I was able to catch up with Simmons on the last day of the conference to talk with him about AWP 2011. Here are some audio [...]
March 31, 1942 – December 27, 2010 Yesterday I learned that the photographer Rick Maloof passed away on December 27th. I didn’t know Rick well but did have the good fortune of spending a day with him and his wife Joan, a Terrain.org contributor, up in the old-growth rainforests of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in [...]
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As the Terrain.org editor-in-chief, there’s little that feels better than putting the finishing touches on the issue and getting the work of the publication’s many contributors out into the world. But there’s another good side to editing that has little to do with publishing. I have to decline far more submissions than I accept (that’s [...]
Recently Iowa State University creative writing and environment MFA student Melissa L. Lamberton interviewed Terrain.org editor-in-chief Simmons Buntin about the journal. We thought we’d post the interview here, in addition to Melissa’s use in the classroom: Melissa L. Lamberton Interviews Terrain.org Editor-in-Chief Simmons B. Buntin Melissa L. Lamberton: What’s the history of Terrain.org? Where did [...]
Duotrope’s Digest, the online writers’ resource listing over 2,900 current fiction and poetry publications — including Terrain.org — has just added to its ongoing series of interviews with publication editors. The interview with Terrain.org editor-in-chief Simmons Buntin is now online at: http://www.duotrope.com/interview.aspx?id=1142 The interview includes compelling responses to such questions as “Describe what you publish [...]