Twice a year here at the CALYX office, the editorial staff has the pleasure of paginating the journal. Lucky for us, our amazing desktop publisher Cheryl McLean means we don’t have to do formatting like this, but the intentional choices we make during layout do take a good deal of planning and thought.
Much like figuring out the layout of a collection of poetry, we strive to make the individual pieces in the journal stronger as a whole than the individual poems on their own. This sometimes means looking for contrast and complication–for example, placing the poem “Old Wives’ Tale” by Jo Angela Edwins which takes place in a kitchen and involves earthy food imagery directly across from “On Her Star Trek Fixation” by Abigail Licad which includes “high-cut patent leather boots and red lycra jumpsuits.” Sometimes the contrast we look for is less about content and more about two authors having complimentary styles which create interesting juxtaposition in our journal. Judith Rose’s stirring sectional poem “Rabenmutter,” for example, starkly contrasts the humorous and rich narrative of Maria Ercilla’s poem “Leda and Superman.” Together, they illustrate the variety in creative approaches taken by contemporary women authors.
While we often look for poems that contrast and compliment one another, we also like to place material that has similar themes close together in the journal if their placement helps develop an idea more fully. It’s incredible how often this happens naturally–it seems that certain subjects are often on the minds of many of our authors and submitters. For the winter journal, we’ve placed “My Father Calls Me Pequena” by Katey Schultz beside Mary Makofske’s poem “Bee.” Both discuss the death of infants, but from different perspectives–a sibling who is still a child herself, and a grandmother.
The most difficult aspect of pagination is unfortunately our page limitations. Due to the decreased funding that many arts organizations and literary journals have faced in the past few years, it has been impossible for us to produce an expanded (160) page journal since early 2009. Our 128-page journals unfortunately mean that much of the fantastic work that we accept over the summer months has to be held over to the next issue. It’s difficult to determine what stays and what goes–we usually look at the submission’s date to help us make the choice.
We hope you’ll enjoy the winter issue–there’s lots to look forward to. It should hit the press in December and be available for sale online (or delivered to your door) in early January and you can get your read on!
-Assistant Editor Rebecca Olson