Eloisa Amezcua on The Shallow Ends
Tell me about the creation of The Shallow Ends. When and how and why was it conceived?
Originally, during the summer of 2016, a friend and I had the idea of creating a website where three of our favorite things would collide: poetry, fashion, and visual art. I went ahead and bought the domain name for The Shallow Ends, but as we're both extremely busy (poets with full-time day jobs), we realized that we'd taken on too much. I thought about what I could do with the domain name and the idea of creating a space that publishes one poet, one poem, every week seemed feasible enough to tackle on my own. Since it's a one-woman endeavor thus far, I've been able to get things up and running very quickly—the first poem was published on September 1, 2016.
I wanted to create something that embraced the speed at which we consume information in today's world instead of pushing against it. Many of us log on to Twitter or Facebook and scroll through occasionally stopping to read a poem someone's posted a picture of or linked to—and I kind of love that, that poetry can be with us anywhere we have our phones and decent service. (For most of us that's 24/7, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.) The Shallow Ends strives to provide this fast-paced environment with one really wonderful poem every Thursday—that's it.
What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?
Because The Shallow Ends only publishes one poem per week, really every poem excites me. I think the journal's published a wide range of voices in very different styles, and for that I'm grateful. There is one poem that stands out, however: "Out of Water" by Jasmine Cui. Jasmine's a 17 year-old freshman at SUNY-Geneseo and this is not only her first poetry publication, but sending in work to The Shallow Ends was her first time submitting to a journal. She's a special young writer, and I'm extremely excited to see what the future holds for her.
(Disclaimer: After the election, I reached out to our upcoming contributors to open the space for any words they may've wished to add, either poetry or not, to their publication. The responses have been wonderful so there may be more than one poem per week here and there.)
What should someone submitting work to The Shallow Ends know about the site?
Poets submitting work to The Shallow Ends should know that I don't take the idea of being an editor lightly. I read each submission many times over, sometimes over a few days or weeks, before making any decisions. They should keep in mind that only 52 poems will be published each year, so I'm looking for the 52 poems that will speak the most to readers. I want The Shallow Ends poems to have a life beyond their week on our homepage; I want readers to dig in to the archives and come back to the poems that mean something to them.
What other literary sites and journals, online or print, are your go-to?
It's not technically a literary site or journal, but Kaveh Akbar's Twitter feed is a constant source of poems by both poets I know and admire, and work by poets that are new to me. (Thanks, Kaveh! Don't stop tweeting!) Also, the Divedapper interviews have been an immense resource for me since graduating from my MFA program—I get to learn so much about the craft of poetry from writers I've only dreamed about working with, so these are a must-read. A few of the journals I subscribe to/read on a regular basis include Poetry, Waxwing, Sixth Finch, Asymptote, The Adroit Journal, but the list is really endless.
Eloisa Amezcua is an Arizona native. Her poetry and translations are published or forthcoming from Poetry, The Journal, Cherry Tree, and others. She is the author of the chapbooks On Not Screaming (Horse Less Press) and Symptoms of Teething, winner of the 2016 Vella Chapbook Prize from Paper Nautilus Press. Eloisa is the founder/editor of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry.