Nate Pritts on H_NGM_N

When did you start H_NGM_N, and why?

Some of the basics can be found on our website here and here, but at the risk of repeating myself: H_NGM_N started as a mimeographed 'zine in 2001. The why part of the question is broader and more treacherous but I'll attempt a series of answers.

Why? Because I realized that I could. Why? Because I realized that I should. Why? Because so many of the existing "markets" for poetry at that time seemed stodgy, or maybe more focused on maintaining the shape of a tradition without really examining it or furthering it, or—maybe those markets seemed bound to places or schools that I was not connected to—that many poets I knew were not connected to. I wanted H_NGM_N to be a home for the kind of poetry that I didn't see getting published much, but which I knew was being written, but I also wanted it to be a particular kind of home—one where everyone got packed in together, where a person knew they could always find a place to crash.

In short, it had a lot to do with access and support, which seem to be two big pillars that a lot of publishing is founded in relation to.

What makes H_NGM_N different from other places to read poetry on the internet?

This is a hard question to answer partly because I think at least some of what makes us different are all the intangibles that make us who we are, the invisible DNA that goes into our secret formula.

For example, we not only publish a (now online) journal but we also publish chapbooks (in an innovative online format) and we also publish full-length collections of poetry. So what this means to me is that H_NGM_N is more than an isolated arm but is a fully integrated conglomeration for furthering creativity through language.

I've sort of flattered myself by saying that H_NGM_N isn't just a publishing company but is a way of life, a type of attention—but I truly and earnestly believe that in every sector of my human heart. Do we provide a remarkably different READING experience? Maybe not in the kind of user experience ways that can be categorized or quantified. But I believe the writing we present is markedly different—is possessed by a tenacity of spirit, a faith in language, a willful and determined sense of GENERATIVE CREATION as a HUMAN responsibility. And I believe that this is palpable.

What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?

I hope it's not cheating to say that EVERYTHING in our current issue (which, as I type this is #14 but which will soon flip over to #15) is something that got me excited—expanded my worldview or clarified my soul or pointed to new uses for the old language we're stuck with. Since we're online (free for all to read and ponder) the only investment needed to get a full view of where we're at now is TIME.

It's probably important to emphasize that phrase "where we're at now" because one of the things I really hope for H_NGM_N is that it grows and changes—not in response to trends or fashions, but because the multitude around us is vast, and singing, and as long as we keep living we keep hearing new things, or hearing the same things in a new way. Being open to that is at the core of what H_NGM_N is about.

What should someone submitting new work to H_NGM_N know about the site?

A person looking to submit should check out our Submission Guidelines. What you'll find there are the modes and methods, as well as the calendar of our reading periods—all the details you'll need to submit a full-length manuscript, a chapbook, or material for consideration to the journal. So that's the nuts and bolts, practical side.

In the beginning, H_NGM_N was my way of creating a community of creative individuals—writers and artists &tc &tc.—people I wanted to have over for dinner, people I could imagine talking with long long into the night. With that in mind, it's probably important to say that H_NGM_N is NOT merely a "credential" for your curriculum vita, not just a "market" for the stuff you're writing. We don't accept simultaneous submissions, which people think is odd in this, our speedy new digital world. But the way I see it, you submit your work to H_NGM_N if you want H_NGM_N to publish it—not simply because you want it published.

Maybe that's old-fashioned. Okay.

What other literary journals, online or print, are your favorites?

There are too many to mention, and I don't want this to devolve into some kind of insider trading list, some kind of clique. There are a lot of journals who've been good to me, both as a poet and as an editor, and a lot of editors of journals who've been published in H_NGM_N & & &.

Forklift, Ohio—a journal and press with an aesthetic and personal and business relationship to H_NGM_N—is probably my favorite and they've been doing it for years and years. Matt Hart, the editor, is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and the extended Forklift family is my family too. Eric Appleby, the designer and means of production for Fl:O, was instrumental in helping H_NGM_N get online to begin with. Additionally, H_NGM_N Books has given Forklift its own "label," letting them select and create books that we'll produce and market.  So the ties are deep.

Another dynamo is Conduit—a print journal that publishes risky and adventurous poetry alongside tremendously wide-ranging interviews. I'm in love with LEVELER, an online journal that aims to publish poems frequently, and alongside commentary by the editors providing a little context and insight.

I mean, I used to have to sequester myself with a thick Poet's Market guide or stumble into a good university library in order to figure out the journals I thought my poetry might be a good fit with. That still works, but these days, you open a browser and click around and can readily gain access to a vibrant and raucous world that—maybe—a writer might take part in.




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