Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 57

How did Adroit Journal—one of our favorites—emerge? What was your mission at the start and how has that changed? Thanks so much! I started The Adroit Journal back in November 2010, as a sophomore in high school. I’d been writing for only a few months, but I’d already decided simply being a staff reader for my high school’s literary publication wasn’t going to satisfy me. I’d even started (woefully) sending my work out to such places as The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and AGNI, and honestly didn’t feel like my work was being taken seriously. (In all fairness, it probably was pretty clearly not right for any of these publications.) At any rate, I started The Adroit Journal to create a bridge between the professional writing world and the teenage writing world, two worlds that felt completely mutually exclusive. And, to be honest, I think there were—over the past seven years, I’ve witnessed such strides in the accessibility young writers have to literary publications and resources, both as readers and writers. I think that that’s perhaps the most essential aspect of the journal’s legacy—aside from hopefully contributing directly to the future of American poetry and prose. Seeing this world open up and (to some extent) embrace teen writers who aren’t lucky enough to have practicing writers in their schools is uplifting. While the execution has certainly developed, I think the journal’s mission of opening the professional world of writing to teenage writers has largely remained the same. First, it came mainly in the form of publication alongside established writers. Then, once it was clear we were receiving far more submissions than we could ever hope to accommodate, I founded the annual Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose. Once those became incredibly selective, I founded the entirely free & entirely online Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program for high school students from around the world. What does your writing practice look like? It’s messy! It’s imperfect. It comes and goes, sometimes when I need it most. But to ask for a better process would, in my view, be asking more of my humanity than my humanity can give. Do you keep a schedule or work when you can? Definitely when I can—which is the only thing I wish I could change! But I’m happy with the work I’m producing, and I keep myself engaged & in workshops (whether formal or informal) as best I can. 57