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Drew Krewer graduated from the University of Arizona with an M.F.A. in poetry in 2010. He recently founded the online journal The Destroyer. Drew’s work can be found (or will soon be found) in DIAGRAM, Fairy Tale Review, Trickhouse, and Poor Claudia. His chapbook, Ars Warholica (2010), is available from Spork Press.
Do you think of your publication(s) as filling a gap in contemporary literature?
I think when we started this project we were reading our favorite journals and finding only a few pieces in each that kicked the breath out of us. We also were finding that there were only a few books coming out during the year that really engaged us as readers and writers. So, the undertaking of this project came from a desire to create a journal to give more "air time" to the kind of work we found ourselves appreciating. So, in that way, I suppose we are filling what we at least consider to be a gap. It's all very intuitive.
We also wanted a platform where professional writers and civic journalists could openly voice opinions---opinions on the literary/art world, on political issues, or on personal experience. This resulted in our section called The Vent.
What is your favorite part of the editing/publishing process?
My favorite part is finding writers from the unsolicited submissions who really just floor us. I also really enjoy encouraging those writers who came close to getting into an issue to submit more; it's always awesome to engage with more work from these artists.
We also love working with our visual arts editor, Andy Campbell, who always has beautiful surprises up his sleeve. We're really excited about what he's coming up with for Vol. 1.2.
What about your least favorite part?
Well, declining work is never fun, especially when we appreciate certain aspects of the work.
Also, what really gets on my nerves is when people don't take the time to read our very basic guidelines. The main thing we ask is that writers don't send us bios; we don't publish bios and we don't care (as editors) where people have been published. Because we specifically ask not to include one, it's like the people who submit bios are assuming we'd be interested in their submission just because they have an extensive resume; that kind of offends me as an editor. I suppose some people just can't help themselves!
In what ways are your processes collaborative, and which parts do you take on by yourselves?
Well, the editorial process is completely collaborative. We occasionally will solicit work from writers whose work we admire, so that can be a non-collaborative process, but we always collaboratively decide which pieces to take.
I think the main part I did myself was just getting it off the ground--finding people to help us with our initial promotion of the journal, finding our web designer, and selecting co-editors and our art editor. After that, the magazine became sort of an engine of collaborators. Since then, my role has been more about gently orchestrating all the different collaborators, in a way. I do, however, format/code most of the magazine's content myself, upload the site to the server, etc. Our web designer did a great job of creating a custom site that I can update fairly easily without worrying about "breaking" anything.
Honestly, I never really thought about independent publishing while I was in the MFA program, though most of the assigned class readings I really loved are associated with smaller, mostly independent, presses. I suppose the range of work I read in the craft courses showed me a really wide spread of contemporary literature; it gave me faith that there is an infinite variety of aesthetics out there. Whether certain aesthetics are visible is another issue---one that has to be tackled through a variety of dedicated publishing efforts, not just by The Destroyer or by any one magazine out there. The MFA program did introduce me to other writers who felt the same way I did about the contemporary literature scene (co-editor Maureen McHugh and managing editor Meagan Lehr). This project wouldn't have taken off the ground had there not been the supportive and collaborative spirit of these two talented writers.
Something I did learn, too, is that while being a part of a community of writers is essential, it's also important to engage with the community outside of your MFA program. I've been fortunate to meet graduate students in Geography, Landscape Ecology, and Photography, all of whom have contributed to my imaginative and generative process as a writer. Also, I met my friend Jason Criscio, our web designer and a graduate of the Atmospheric Science program, this way. If I had only spent my time with writers, I can definitely say that this project (as we have imagined it) would not have been technically feasible for us, especially considering our shoestring/out-of-pocket budget.
What's in the future for The Destroyer?
Well, we're taking it one issue at a time at this point. I'd really like to see more audio and video work in the publication, perhaps even a music section. I'd also be interested in working with app developers to create apps specifically for The Destroyer. We've also talked about re-imagining the traditional literary "reading" to the point that it transforms into something else entirely. Who knows. These are all ideas that have been turning around in our heads recently; maybe you'll see some of them occurring in the near future...