Spotlight on New Queer Literature: A Conversation with MoonPark Review
Author: Alyssa Greene
November 28, 2018
“MoonPark Review is an act of love: love of art, love of literature, love of the creative process, and love of each other.”
Spotlight on New Queer Literature is a monthly series highlighting publications that are LGBTQIA owned, promote queer and trans writers, or publish work on LGBTQIA themes, seeking to connect Lambda’s readership with contemporary queer publishers and authors.
This month, Lambda spoke with Mary Lynn Reed and Lesley C. Weston, co-founders and co-editors of MoonPark Review, about publishing as an act of love and empathy, short forms, and the evolution of MoonPark’s unique aesthetic.
Tell us a little bit about MoonPark Review and its mission.
MoonPark Review is an act of love: love of art, love of literature, love of the creative process, and love of each other. We, Mary Lynn Reed and Lesley C. Weston, are an engaged-to-be-married queer couple and the sole editorial staff of MoonPark Review. As co-editors, we curate and build the entire journal together. We regard MoonPark Review as an expression of our love, aflame with queerness, complexity, and joy. Our mission is the empathic illumination of the human condition through prose.
How long has MoonPark Review been around? How has it developed or changed since it began?
We conceived the idea for MoonPark Review in the summer of 2017 and published our first issue in Fall, 2017. We publish quarterly and are currently putting the finishing touches on Issue Six, Winter 2018/2019. We haven’t been around long enough to go through major changes, but we’re established enough now to no longer wrestle with the question of whether we can do this editorial thing. Instead, we enjoy the luxury of focusing on where we want this endeavor to go and how we may best continue to serve the literary community with our beloved online magazine.
What kind of work do you publish?
We are a journal of short prose. Each piece we publish is 750 words or less. We publish flash fiction, micros, prose poems, and hybrids. Each piece must have a structural element of prose (sentences, paragraphs, etc.)
How would you describe MoonPark Review’s aesthetic?
We publish quarterly with our issues debuting on the solstices and equinoxes, marking the change of the seasons. Although we are an online journal we shape each issue into a distinct entity, giving it a cover and a thematic image that carries throughout. Often these cover images are inspired by the season and the land our journal takes its name from.
In our first issue, we decided to use the number 13 as a guiding principle for the number of pieces (or number of authors) that would comprise an issue of MoonPark Review. Why 13? Because it’s a powerful number. You love it, or hate it; you consider it lucky or unlucky. But few people are neutral on the number 13. That speaks to us, and perhaps illuminates some of our peculiarity.
Also from the beginning we decided that both editors had to love every piece we publish. Given our very different individual literary styles/aesthetics, a piece that captures us both is pretty unique. Over time this has evolved into a quite particular MoonPark Review aesthetic.
One of us is a mathematician and craves clear, direct prose, while the other is an artist and loves nesting dolls of indirection and narrative intrigue. But knowing those facts doesn’t reveal much about the MoonPark Review aesthetic. As our individual tastes merge and define this journal we curate together, the MoonPark Review aesthestic seems to be all about heart. Hearts in love, hearts grieving, hearts yearning, hearts broken. But also, we do love clear and direct prose. And we do love a richly drawn speculative world. MoonPark Review is also proud to feature writers from all over the world, and who represent the full rainbow of diversity in sexuality and gender.
Can you highlight some of the work MoonPark Review publishes?
“The Saddest Sailor” by Temim Fruchteris our exemplar of what a prose poem should be: the voice is strong, the world expressed is both complete and mysterious, and there is a clear narrative framework underpinning the rich and evocative language.
We love the emotional depth and physical world of this piece. The sensation of living and working on or near the sea feels beautifully authentic. We love the play of gender expression for the sailor/not-a-sailor, and the universality of hope, grief, duty, and sadness.
We love the straightforward storytelling of “Space Coast Area Townhouse, 2BDS, 2BA” by Ryan K. Jory. The story is an online hook-up with a speculative fiction twist. A deep-space colonist is about to leave Earth forever and seeks a short-term husband to inherit his townhouse (and the rest of his worldly possessions). The writing is clear and direct and paints a future where gay marriage is as matter-of-fact as colonization of other planets.
This piece hits the sweet spot of literary speculative flash fiction for us. We are dropped into the world in the first sentence, without apology or explanation. The writing supports the speculative world naturally and lets the reader focus on the emotions and dilemmas of the characters.
“Mercury” by Maz Hedgehog captivated us right away with the juxtaposition of the mundane (someone leaving a voicemail) and the mythological (and gorgeously brutal) content of the message. What does self-actuation really entail? And what does one plan to do next after touching the sun?
This is another beautiful exemplar of a prose poem for us. As with “The Saddest Sailor” the voice in “Mercury” is particularly vivid and the narrative world is built completely yet glimmers with mystery. We also love that while the emotional connection between the message-leaver and the message-recipient is vital and deeply expressed, the specifics of the relationship are not detailed, leaving the narrative open to the reader’s interpretation and experience.
What would you like writers interested in submitting to MoonPark Review to know?
If you want to understand MoonPark Review, please read MoonPark Review.
We take special care with every piece we publish, pairing it with an original art illustration, and ensuring that the work is presented cleanly on our web pages. We give writers the chance to view proofs of their work before publication.
We don’t publish verse poetry. For us, prose poems must have a structural element of prose (sentences, paragraphs, etc).
We are a literary journal but we enjoy cross-over genre pieces (especially literary speculative fiction).
Although we believe literature should reflect the world we live in, we aren’t interested in publishing work that celebrates cruelty.
We are fond of micros. We’d love to see more of them.
We’d also love to see more hybrid forms, and sets of related micros.