BorderSenses is an innovative literary journal based out of my hometown of El Paso, Texas. The BorderSenses organization is also infusing the borderland with important literary projects such as writing workshops for migrant workers and area teens. Following their 20th issue last year, 2015 is proving to be another exciting year for them as they have a new Managing Editor, Lacy Arnett Mayberry, and a new website among other things. Lacy generously agreed to an interview, so without further ado, I’m delighted to introduce you to Lacy and BorderSenses.
Q: What kind of writing and art are you and your editors looking for at BorderSenses?
A: Part of our mission is to promote cross-cultural exchange through the arts. We are interested in a both physical and metaphorical borders. That said, just because a story is set in Tijuana doesn’t make it an automatic fit for the journal. I often see literary magazines stipulate for writers to send their best work, which seems self-evident but is truly the ultimate guideline. If you send us a poem or story or photo that blows us away, we’re going to publish it. Period.
Q: What do you think differentiates BorderSenses from other literary publications?
A: Our Spanish language element. We welcome Spanish submissions in all our genre categories and feel it’s important to provide Spanish-speaking artists a venue in which to publish work in their native or preferred language.
Q: As BorderSenses’ new managing editor, are there any changes you foresee? What’s in BorderSenses’ future?
A: BorderSenses published its 20th volume last year. It’s a journal with a wonderful, longstanding tradition of excellence that I’d like to carry forward. I think my main focus, apart from trying to curate the best work possible, is to increase BorderSenses’ circulation. To get it into the hands of more readers.
Q: Any advice for those looking to submit work?
A: We’d love to see more nonfiction submissions! Book reviews, too.
Q: Is there a question you wish more literary journal editors were asked, and if so, what is it, and what is your answer in terms of BorderSenses?
A: Minerva Laveaga, our former Executive Director, came up with an idea for a section titled: What the Editors are Reading. It was quite possibly my favorite element of the journal. I love to talk about what I’m reading! I think it can be a helpful clue to a submitter about an editor’s taste. I’m juggling three books at the moment: Eula Biss’s On Immunity: An Innoculation, which is an incredible collection of essays about our collective cultural fears, Jorge Armenteros’s debut novel, The Book of I, an excerpt of which was published in our most recent issue, and Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories—a fantastic collection of stories that leave me wondering how I hadn’t heard of Gallant before now.
Q: If BorderSenses had a favorite midnight snack, what would it be?
A: I once had a Russian friend who kept a living fungus in her fridge—a clustered organism the shape and texture of skinless grapes. It sat in a Tupperware of milk on her top shelf. She drank and then replenished the milk daily, claiming it could remedy things like colds and acne and cancer.
Her particular strain had been alive for years. Given to her uncle by a man in China, it had crossed three continents to sit in a batch of mid-western milk. It grew with time and could be divided and shared—a perpetually mutating organism with its own unique and complex pedigree.
I like to think that BorderSenses would be partial to this kind of healing fungus milk, though it probably loves chips and salsa, too.
What are you waiting for? You should be submitting stories, poems, art to them right now. Go!
BorderSenses is open for submissions through May 15th, 2015. They accept submissions via Submittable. Volume 21 will be released this fall. Follow them on Twitter at @BorderSensesEP or check them out the BorderSenses Facebook page.
BorderSenses Literary and Arts Journal is an annual print publication that provides a venue for emerging and established writers/artists from the U.S.-Mexico border area and beyond to share their words and images.
Lacy Arnett Mayberry is Managing Editor at BorderSenses Literary Journal. She graduated from Lesley University’s MFA program and won the 2014 AWP Writers’ Conferences and Centers Scholarship for fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Mama, Riversedge, Better: Culture & Lit, Tammy, Permafrost, and LunaLuna. She co-hosts the monthly Postmasters Podcast: Writing and Life After the MFA.