Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Round Table

La conference/Laurent Ferrari

There has been a lot of discussion recently among editors and writers trying to pinpoint just what to look for in a solid, print-worthy work. Ryan McDermott, editor of the online journal New Pantagruel, kind of started it last week when he asked the new editors at Relief Journal just what would float their boat to see in print. Trying to get a handle on the kind of Christian journal we were aiming for, he asked how we compared to Image. I responded with the following answer:

I am very familiar with Image, have attended two of their conferences (ten years apart) and will be attending (hopefully) The Glen this summer. I deeply respect Gregory Wolfe’s vision and leadership at its helm. After years of hard work and attention to excellence, Image has the clout and vitality we all aspire to. Absolutely I believe that their fiction and poetry are good. (I love reading Robert Cording and Thomas Lynch and of course Annie Dillard.) But we are not here to emulate Image, other than in quality of journalism.

As editors, we rely on writers to submit their very best work. But we look for more than just good writing. I look for the author’s ability to pull back the veil and reveal the holy. I hope to see the mundane, everyday occurences of life in fresh ways. I hope to walk away from an essay and not be able to forget it because it altered my thinking, opened a window, recast the way I see things. I look for poetic and creative construction. I look for evidence that God has influenced and informed this writer’s creative sensibilties - not through dogma or even intellectualism - but through tutelage of craftmanship.

Kimberly Culbertson, Founding Editor, and Heather von Doehren, Assistant Editor, are doing a fantastic job of steering the first issue to publication. Kimberly clarifies our goals with these words of guidance: Please understand that we are looking for solid literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry over didactic, “inspirational” literature. For those of you who are still being timid, stop pulling your punches. Please feel free to send us your edgier work. I am looking for authors who are able to write well rather than make a sloppy attempt at evangelism via the written word.

Now that Mark Bertrand has joined us on the editorial staff, he too, has weighed in here with his preferences.

Brad Fruhauff, Poetry Editor, is our most recent staff addition. He gives a call for "true" poetry that will both "'instruct and delight.'" Welcome, Brad, to Relief. And for a complete profile of all the hardworking editors at Relief, check us out at the Editor's Page.

How do we then define our preferences when some of us like "edgy," some like "reflective," some like "classical," some like "modern?" While we do strive to enlarge the boundaries for an emerging audience, in short, all of us appreciate well-crafted art. I like the fact that we can bring differing sensibilties to the table where we critique your work. You can rest assured, if you say it with excellence, your voice will be heard.


Kimberly Culbertson said...

We do have a great mix :D Should make for some interesting coffee shop discussion...

Anonymous said...

This is as close to finding you as I have come. I enjoyed your blog, look forward to reading more, and getting in touch again! xo Marinell

Leigh McLeroy said...

Hi, Karen - Leigh McLeroy. Glad to have found your blog and enjoyed reading your work. I love the photo you posted with "The Round Table." Is it available stock?

Karen Miedrich-Luo said...

So good to hear from you, Leigh!
This is the URL to the photo
I get a lot of stuff from stock.xchng as well as wickimedia. Be sure and check the prohibitions before publishing.

Anonymous said...

Nice colors. Keep up the good work. thnx!