FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact:
Founder and Editor in Chief
Submissions for Four Chambers 03 Close Friday November 28th 2014
(and a few other things)
Phoenix, AZ (November 19th, 2014)… Independent community literary magazine Four Chambers— what some people may have recalled hearing about on KJZZ or other local media a month or two ago, also Best Literary Journal in Phoenix by the New Times (2014)—will be closing the submission period for its third issue Friday, November 28th at 11:59 PM MST.
Each issue, Four Chambers awards $200 in prizes and works with local artists to illustrate selected pieces from the magazine. But, as Assistant Director Kelsey Pinckney explains, Four Chambers is about so much more.
Where publishing can often be a distant, impersonal, rejection-laden process, Four Chambers is trying to cultivate real, personal relationships with the people who submit their work. “We spend so much time just reading and talking about things it’s nuts,” explains Pinckney, petting a small cat “Each submission that comes in gets read by a Managing Editor before it’s sent out to two or three Associate Editors, each of whom reads it, scores it, and leaves a note before it gets read, again, by the Managing Editor. If it passes, it gets sent to our editorial board, who meets together for a few hours at the end of the month to eat pastries and talk about the submissions. If it doesn’t pass, we send people a personal letter. “
Pinckney continues. “It’s magazine policy to send a personal letter for every single submission. We receive thousands of submissions, so it’s totally crazy, but people took the time to write something and send it to us, so we’re just trying to honor that.” The cat closes its eyes and purrs. “We just care.”
What’s more, Four Chambers is committed to promoting its authors and having a felt, immediate presence in the local community. As a styrofoam heart-shaped mascot for the magazine explains, ticking off the list on his oversized fingers, “We give people pages from the magazine and drop them around town at coffee shops and cafes. We bring authors to local writing groups and open mics. We do short presentations for creative writing classes at community colleges and ASU. We table at Farmers Markets and local festivals. We get sunburned and dehydrated.” Having run out fingers, the mascot looks up and shrugs. “We want to get the work out there. We do a lot of things.”
It’s also worth noting that Four Chambers ends up publishing about 50% local work. “Not because we have quotas or reserve a certain amount of room for people who have a connection to Phoenix / Arizona,” says an animatronic bear wearing overalls and a straw hat. “There are just a lot of good writers living here who don’t have any other place locally to submit their work.”
And unlike other magazines which may have specific editorial missions or focuses, Four Chambers is just looking for good work. “Seriously,” says Jake Friedman, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, holding a small cup of coffee, taking the occasional sip. “We’re just looking for good work. Like I know everybody says they’re looking for good work but we’re serious, we mean it.”
As Friedman has stated in previous releases, on record, Four Chambers wants to publish contemporary literature. This being said, he doesn’t know what that means. Fortunately, he thinks part of what makes art contemporary is figuring out what contemporary art means in the first place. But, as Friedman is quick to point out, he has no idea what he’s talking about. “I mean, at the end of the day, you’re just a person, right?” Friedman is washing dishes. “Art is something we do because it’s fun, because it makes our lives more meaningful and gives us something to do. Don’ get me wrong. I think publishing work is crucial, especially if we’re trying to engender a more cohesive scene.” Friedman is scrubbing vigorously at the corner of a pan. “But I think it’s important to remember that publication is just a means to an end, it’s just a way for people to engage with artistic work, and I think one of the reasons people do so is because we’re looking for a shared, abstract human experience, a connection or a resonance, whatever that may be.” Friedman turns off the faucet and dries his hands. “And because we’re looking for community.”
“So when you can read a piece of work and feel something for that piece, when it means something to you, when you can develop a relationship with it,” Friedman has found a plush arm chair and has taken a seat. “That is fantastic, that is a great thing.” Friedman crosses his legs, adjusts his robe, and begins to light a large tobacco pipe. “And when you have a relationship with that piece of work,” he puffs, “you have a meaningful, substantive relationship with the person who wrote it. This is what we mean when we say we’re publishing work to build community” Friedman leans back, satisfied, and a small yellow cat jumps onto the back of the chair.
“But when you can have that kind of experience with a person who lives in the same city as you,” Friedman leans forward. “When they shop at the same grocery store, when they post pictures of their cat on facebook, when you see them walking down the street,” gesturing with his free hand, “That’s a real, personal connection, that adds value to your experience with the piece of art, that adds value to your experience in life, and that too is a great thing.”
Individuals who wish to submit to Four Chambers can find policies, guidelines, forms, and all other relevant information at http://fourchamberspress.com/submit. Copies of Four Chambers 01 and Four Chambers 02 are also available for purchase online at modest and reasonable prices ($10 for the first issue, $12 for the second, $20 for both—they also have a chapbook) and make great gifts for friends or family with vaguely related literary interests (wink win).
Four Chambers would also like you to know that they just released their first chapbook, Poems for the Future President by Michael Bartelt, more information for which is available online at http://fourchamberspress.com/chapbooks/mbartelt.
Four Chamberswill also be:
- tabling at Alternative Black Friday at Cityscape on Friday, November 28th
- bringing Elizabeth McNeil, Paula Ashley, and Johnnie Clemens May to Changing Hands Tempe on Friday December 5th,
- tabling at Phoestivus on Wednesday December 10th and 17th
- tabling at the Phoenix Festival for the Arts Friday December 12th through Sunday December 14th
- sitting on a publishing panel at Wilkes College in Mesa on December 13th.
Four Chambers is also working on:
- a wine tasting + themed reading tentatively titled “Drunk in Love” in February
- a mural by Art Director Isaac Caruso for PaintPHX in early March
- a collaboration with the Phoenix Art Museum in which local authors will respond to the museum’s permanent collection in April.
Calls for special projects will be released by the beginning of December. Four Chambers 03 will be released in March 2015.
About Four Chambers Press Local-National
Four Chambers Press is an independent community literary magazine based in Phoenix, AZ that wants you to read awesome literature from people in Phoenix / Arizona / beyond + give you something to do every once in a while + make your life slightly more interesting. For more information please visit http://fourchamberspress.com.