used-furniture-reviewUsed Furniture Review is a nice literary journal. David Cotrone of UFR has started a Fictionaut Group for it. Thought I’d ask him about that.

Q (Nicolle Elizabeth): What are some journals Used Furniture Review likes and why?

A (David Cotrone): We love PANK, Fifty-Two Stories, elimae, Kill Author, The Rumpus, The Collagist, AGNI, the list goes on. I couldn’t name all of them here. Our favorite journals tend to be those that give emerging voices — new and exciting ones — as equal a say as those already established. It’s always so exciting to stumble across a really blistering (in its ferocity and risk or in its subtlety and nuance) story and feel like you’ve just unearthed some invaluable treasure. It’s also really refreshing to see journals that promote the words on the page over author biographies, not that the latter aren’t insightful. That would also be pretty hypocritical of me to say I’m not a fan of bios, as Used Furniture Review features them. We view them as more of payment, though, since we can’t offer money at this point; we owe it to our contributors to promote their names. Still, they’re placed away from the text, in a designated section.

That was probably a wildly distrait answer to your question.

If Used Furniture watched TV, would it like Antiques Roadshow? Apparently Martin Fennelly Antiques in Ireland which dates back to 1792 boasts as the most famous antique furniture in the world. They seem good though this one time I went to Versailles and that seemed equally good. Also in Boston we have the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum which is not bad. You guys don’t use books to prop uneven tables though, right? I personally have trouble with chairs a lot because I am short and if I sit in any chair properly my feet don’t actually fully reach the ground true story. Napoleon, yep.

That’s a really great question. Without a doubt, it would DVR every episode. I actually have pretty distinct memories from when I was younger, watching Antiques Roadshow with my father. We were part amused, part mystified, I think. It’s always beyond funny to see the faces on the people in the background, the ones trying to get on (or off) camera, just there, gawking, transfixed by some piece of junk. But once there was a garbage man who brought a lamp onto the show. He found it in someone’s trash, and he liked it; he didn’t know what he liked, exactly, just something about it. The lamp ended up fetching a couple million dollars. How can that kind of fate and circumstance not get the blood pumping?

As for this talk of used furniture, it’s always fun to wonder where a certain antique came from, what it witnessed, how it outlived its owner. The name of our rag, however, Used Furniture Review, comes from a story I started to write but then abandoned. I wrote something like, “He felt like used furniture.” The metaphor seemed a little forced at the time but I still really liked it, so in thinking of a name for our Review, it was there to use.

Don’t worry about your chair issue, by the way, I think there’s a little bit of Napoleon in all of us. We all want to be or feel taller than something; that’s probably why we write, and even read. It’s part of the whole experience. And no, we don’t use books to prop uneven tables. Ceramic coasters, and sometimes napkins, tend to remedy that particular problem.

Is Used Furniture Review accepting submissions, if so what kind?

We’re excited to say that we’re currently accepting submissions of all kinds. (It’s worth it to note that, at the moment, we have no plans of closing submissions, either.) We love writing of all kinds: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, experimental. We also love to see photography and artistic submissions, as well as interviews with authors and writers. If someone had an idea other than that, that would be really great, too. I’m thinking of a video of an author reading their work, something like that. We’re really open to any given contributor’s creativity. Everyone and anyone is encouraged to submit, multiple times. We recently accepted two poems from a poet who we had rejected several times before. We like to think of rejections as “This wasn’t bad, just not right for us. Please submit again.” Everyone has a talent, a voice to harness — to deny that would be an awful thing.

Does Used Furniture Review endorse used books?

We endorse used books just as much as we support buying a book fresh off the bookshelf. Personally, my own bookshelf is packed with used books; I have less that are new. For me, used books have a certain charm to them, the writing seems more fresh, somehow. Also, it’s always really great to find a used first edition of your favorite author, or to check out the annotations of the book’s previous reader. It’s like reading two books at once; simultaneously getting inside the heads of a few different people. What more could a writer ask for?

Please tell us more about you, your own writing and projects. Aspirations, dreams. Or don’t, it’s entirely your choice we’ll accept either way, we’re mellow.

I tend to think I’m more of the fiction mind than the nonfiction, though I love writing and reading both. Whatever I’m writing, I’m interested in getting to the stuff of humanity, what it is that makes us feel split into pieces, what makes us feel empty, and eventually what makes us feel whole again. I’m currently working on a piece of fiction, Crooked As We Go. It’s finally starting to find its shape; I’m not sure if it will eventually turn into a novel or a novel-in-stories project. Either way, I’d be happy. That being said, my greatest hope is that I “make it,” that I can live off this thing called writing. I know how absurd that sounds, almost laughable. But I really wouldn’t be able to live without words, my notebook, something to write with. Ain’t that the truth.

Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

  1. susan tepper

    I love furniture, its essential. This very cool zine features some great writing.

  2. Marcus Speh

    i agree with susan: UF is a cool mag. nicolle, thanks for interviewing david, thanks david for coming to fictionaut. david writes, too, and has posted a few pieces already. i particularly like editors (like susan btw) who don’t only tell but also show. good start, a neighbourhood store to watch.

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