Wendy Xu on Hyperallergic
Tell me about your involvement with Hyperallergic.
I began curating poetry for Hyperallergic last year, the summer of 2016, taking over for former editor Joe Pan. The magazine was already a daily read for me, so I was excited when Joe asked me to step in—he's developing a place for fiction in the series, which excites me too. I publish original poetry and poetry-in-translation bi-monthly, each time paired with visual art that is selected in collaboration with Associate Editor Elisa Wouk Almino.
What makes Hyperallergic different from other places to read poetry (and literature) on the internet?
A few things make Hyperallergic special. We publish one or two poems (maximum) by a single author at a time, and we don't subscribe to issues as a publishing model. Authors are published as a standalone piece alongside the other news and essays of the day--dynamic art writing, cultural criticism, and perspectives on the art world at large.
In this way, I like to think we're making an argument that there's a place for poetry in everyone's daily reading practice—it deserves a spot in your day, and everyone can be a reader of poetry. If you like art (and it seems you do, you are reading Hyperallergic), you should try this poem! It's good! It doesn't matter if you've never thought of yourself as a poetry reader. Contemporary poetry is art news of the most urgent and necessary kind.
On a practical note, we have a 500K+ unique monthly readership, and I think that's exciting.
What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?
Recently we published Marwa Helal's stunning poem 'the middle east is missing,' which is in the form of a "beautiful outlaw," an extremely challenging and constrained Oulipian form. The formal conceit (in this case, what is literally missing) is both integral to the poem and somehow secondary to the poem's daring multilingual acrobatics, its unstoppable speech. I love it. I also wish it were not so heartbreakingly relevant to the political moment, and yet it is. But it defies.
What should someone submitting work to Hyperallergic know about the site?
That we (well, I) read year-round, and am interested in writing across a range of "styles" and forms. We are happy to consider long form(s). We love work that engages (interpret engages however you like) the contemporary moment. We do not want work that endeavors to maintain or champion the status-quo, in either literature or culture at large. We are excited by poetry-in-translation.
What other literary sites and journals, online or print, are your go-to?
Lana Turner, Asymptote, Asian American Writers Workshop The Margins, PEN Poetry Series, Boston Review, Guernica, Triple Canopy.
Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence, 2017), You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013), and several chapbooks, including Naturalism (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). She is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is poetry editor for Hyperallergic.
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