Crab Creek Review has been publishing fine poetry and prose for over twenty-five years right in our backyard. But the locally run journal is far from provincial. Along with the work of Richard Hugo House regulars like David Wagoner and Kate Lebo, the current issue includes translations from international poets as well as work from all over the states.
Many thanks to editor Kelli Russell Agodon for taking the time to answer some questions for us.
RM: We're neighbors! Your mailing address is smack dab in the middle of my neighborhood in Ballard. How’s life in the Nordic corner treating you?
KRA: Actually, pretty nicely! Though I have to admit, that while our mailing address is in Ballard (Uff da!), our team of editors, staff and volunteers are scattered all around Western Washington from Seattle to Bellingham to Kingston!
RM: Your list of contributors from your current issue is filled with local writers who double as Hugonauts. Please tell us about your dedication to Northwest writers.
KRA: When we took over Crab Creek Review three years ago, we loved its regional appeal and its local literary history. We appreciate that we live in an area so filled with fantastic writers and poets and want to continue to give Northwest writers a strong literary journal, now with a twenty-seven year legacy in the community, that they could see as their own. We celebrate each issue with a local reading to highlight local poets and writers.
However, even though we might be seen here as a somewhat regional journal, we believe in our poets and writers and want to make sure they receive national attention as we try to bring their work to a larger audience. The Northwest has incredible work coming out of it that deserves to be recognized on a larger scale. We are doing our best to help Crab Creek Review be seen on a more national level and to expand our audience the best we can.
RM: As you mentioned, Crab Creek Review has been around twenty-seven years. Could you tell us about the genesis of the journal and where it’s headed in the years to come?
KRA: Crab Creek Review was started by Linda Clifton in 1983. It has gone through various styles, from a more newspapery look to its now perfect-bound format. It's also had a list of editors who have moved it forward in different ways throughout the years.
As for where the journal is going, as I mentioned above, we are hoping to expand readership and get our writers more of the national attention we think they deserve. Also, in the future, we would like to find a way to assist writers monetarily. Since we are only on a shoestring budget, this is a huge challenge, but we would love to be the folks that were able to find young (or old for that matter!) talent and offer our support to them. It can be so difficult for writers in the world, but to have someone say (through direct funding), "We believe in you," can be so beneficial to writers. It is a long-range goal, but we hope one day to achieve it.
RM: Some editors give very little input to writers once they accept a piece; others make a lot of suggestions and work with the writer to polish it more. How do you usually respond as an editor to a piece you accept?
KRA: Usually the only edits we make are corrections when we accept a piece, as usually we love everything about it when we take it. However, there have been cases where we've told a poet or writer that s/he was close and offer a suggestion or two. Mostly though, the poem or story is taken as it was written and we work with the author to help correct syntax, punctuation, grammatical errors; we offer more input on the technical things, less on the creative.
RM: What makes a Crab Creek Review poem or prose piece unique from other literary journals?
KRA: If we chose a poem or story, it's because one of our editors felt a connection with it and stood up for it.
One thing we may do differently than other journals is that all editors do not have to agree on whether we should publish a piece or not. We would rather publish a story or poem that one of our editors absolutely adored (and perhaps another editor didn't like) than to find and publish a poem or story that we all agreed on. We feel this technique of each of us choosing our favorites and what we feel is the strongest work, allows the best writing to be published.
RM: What advice would you give our readers who would someday like to see their work in the Crab Creek Review?
1) Read our submission guidelines on our web site (and follow them).
2) Send us your very best work.
We're just looking for the best writing from the Northwest and beyond.
Crab Creek Review accepts submissions of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction from September 1 through March 31. For details on the submission process, visit crabcreekreview.com.