Meet the Editors: An Interview with Editor Bronwyn Valentine
It’s a new year and a new staff here at BWR. We (the editors) interviewed each other so that you (the world) could get a sense of us as editors/readers/weirdos. We’re pleased to meet you!
Interview by SHELLEY FELLER
shelley feller: If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be & why?
Bronwyn Valentine: I’m a Libra, so it’s actually impossible for me to choose just one song forever. I’ll just tell you that I’ve been listening to a lot of ancient music these days, a lot of Hildegard of Bingen. I would listen to her forever. It’s beautiful. It makes me feel small. It puts me in an exalted place that I feel has been shared for a thousand years. And I’ve been listening to this album called “1000: A Mass for the End of Time” by Anonymous 4 and the first line they chant in Latin is “the sign of judgment: the earth will begin to sweat.” And I CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. Also Beyoncé.
sf: Describe your last reading experience.
BV: I most recently read Eileen Myles’s The Importance of Being Iceland. It was my first time reading anything by Myles, and it just got way inside me and squeezed my guts and made me cuss a lot while I was reading it because it was just really good. I’m currently reading The Pulp vs The Throne by Carrie Lorig and loving that a lot too.
sf: Why BWR?
BV: I really believe in being in conversation with other writers, that writing is a conversation that is continually happening, and we are continually participating in this big tender vulnerable hard work of just talking to each other with intention and integrity. BWR is a conversation, too, between writers and writing, yes, but also between editors and generations. Every year, we are contributing to and changing the conversation of what BWR is and could be, and I find that fascinating and exciting.
sf: Do you have any guiding thoughts/feelings as Editor?
BV: This is what I’m asking myself: If BWR (and all lit journals, all publishing) is a constant and continual conversation, then who has historically/systemically been invited into that conversation, and who has been shut out? How do we continue to make BWR a space that invites and honors a diversity of voices in these conversations, a space that continues to examine and challenge and interrogate our gatekeeping roles? This feels like the biggest/most important work. I’m also thinking about the ways that language is controlled/exploded/subverted. I’m thinking about space and the sentence/line and the page, about breath and the visceral/bodily ways that a piece of writing is read/engaged with. I’m thinking about how my heart feels before/during/after, about how a piece of writing succeeds or doesn’t in becoming my whole heart during that moment of reading.
sf: If you were stuck alone on a hot air balloon for the rest of your life, what five items would you want with you, and what do you think you may have done to deserve being set adrift forever on a hot air balloon?
BV: Oh dear, let me show you how unromantic I am: 1) some kind of navigational device; 2) a blanket; 3) a pocket knife; 4) perpetual hot water and tea; and 5) a hot air balloon instruction manual (I’m really appreciating this manual from the Federal Aviation Administration). I’m almost positive I was sent up in a hot air balloon as punishment from an angry mob for teaching witchcraft to their children.