While we normally save actual personal check-ins for ye olde Fictionaut bloggeshop, I figured, we have a new member, who should start a Group here for her literary journal Gigantic Sequins. Then I thought, she is such a cool lady perhaps Fictionaut would like to know more about Gigantic Sequins. At like 27 this woman is a poet, professor, publisher, was the best addition The Strand ever had and she let me stay on her couch when I was between apartments. She’s a powerhouse yet with this ethereal hippie feel and will always be cooler than me.

Q (Nicolle Elizabeth): Kimberly Ann Josephine Southwick, you are a poet and editor, a bookstore maven and professor. Please suggest to us three books we should read this fall and why.

I think that certain books should be read in certain seasons. Read On Beauty by Zadie Smith — if you have yet to read this book, you must. It concerns a family and a college. Fall has that big-breath-of-fresh-cold-air back-to-school feel to it. So does this novel. Read Just Kids by Patti Smith because it is the memoir of the year, and 2010 is winding down. This memoir is poignant and precise and moving. It made me miss New York. And finally, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Though this book is classified as a children’s book, it’s worth every page for any reader, despite their age. I have a distinct memory of finishing this book hiding in the literary non-fiction section of the Strand where I shelved books, crying a little bit and trying not to– but it was just so good, I couldn’t help it. It’s spooky, and just in time for Halloween.

Please tell us about Gigantic Sequins. Get glittery with it.

Gigantic Sequins is a print-only literary arts magazine. I always wanted to start a litmag since I’ve always been involved in them at school, so I did. We have had a rotating staff of usually around four people. It started with just me and my friend Shereen– had it not been for her, Gigantic Sequins may have never gotten out of my head and into ink and paper. Now, it’s me; a poetry editor, Sophie Klahr, who lives in TX; a fiction editor, Zach Yontz, who dwells in Chicago; and our designer, currently, is Jordan M. Tavenner, a Bostonian. It’s fun to have a print-only mag with an internet-entwined staff. When I was living in NYC, my staff all also lived in NYC. It’s a challenge, but we get it done. Our 2.1 issue is going to print at the end of October, and we’ll be reopening for submissions in November. Oh, and our mascot/logo for Gigantic Sequins is two semi-colons, one backwards. The semi-colon is my favorite mark of punctuation.

Do you predict E-readers having an effect on the indie literary journal or not at all? If yep, how?

In the letter to the editor of Gigantic Sequins 2.1, hot off the press early November, I talk about how important internet journals and people who read them are nowadays to literature. But the internet is a different market than the print journal. It’s two different things– to see your work in print online is thrilling, but there’s something kinesthetically thrilling about holding a ‘zine that houses you or your friends’ work. E-zines are fantastic and I am a frequent reader of some (elimae and Sawbuck, to name my two favorites), but I am strictly for keeping my literary arts journal to print and print only. There’s just something about ink and paper… I may have just quoted myself. The two may affect each other, but I don’t think it’s a fight. I think the internet is good for journals, either way.

What was the recipe for that tofu soup you made for people when I was staying at your house?

Ah, Miso Soup, yes, wonderful stuff. Miso soup is probably the easiest soup to make, ever. You have to buy some fancy stuff for it, though. You need to buy miso paste, any brand works. There are different “kinds”. I like the white kind. It lasts forever. Seriously. Also, you have to buy dried kombu, which is kelp and also lasts forever. Recipe: Soak 3 pieces of kombu in room temperature water for 15/20 minutes. Then, remove kombu and cut into bite-sized pieces. Chop up a few stalks of scallions and a handful or so of mushrooms (shitake works best?) and cook them in the kombu-broth with sea salt for 20 minutes or so. Chop up half a block of tofu into cubes and add it to the soup and cook it for five minutes. Then, put the soup in bowls and stir in one tablespoon of miso for each bowl, more or less depending on taste. And voila. It’s important that you don’t COOK the miso. Don’t ask why. I forget. Just don’t cook it. Add it to hot stuff, instead.

Please tell Fictionaut more about you, your work, your projects, anything you’d like us to know or not know here.

Currently, I teach at Rowan University and The University of Phoenix. At Rowan, I teach a grammar class where we sentence diagram in order to prove that we understand each part of a sentence. Teaching this class has made me the best copyeditor I know, which is both good and bad. I teach various classes at Phoenix, including an Intro to Composition class and currently I am teaching a Multicultural Literature class. I have poems enough for another small chapbook to come out, but I am busy with teaching and haven’t sent it out as much as I should. I really love to bake pies and cook soup and write letters. And I love teaching. I hope to have a full-time job someday teaching Reading and Writing Poetry classes. I’m on my way…

Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

  1. 1 Gigantic Thanks to… « Gigantic Sequins

    […] blogger, for interviewing our editor in chief and blogging about it. Here ye, here ye, read the interview fresh off the press […]

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