Sid Miller: Editor of Burnside Review

Sid Miller’s first two full-length poetry collections appeared in 2009: Nixon on the Piano (David Robert Books) and Dot-to-Dot, Oregon (Ooligan Press).  This fall he was the writer-in-residence at the Sitka Center for the Arts.  He is the founder and editor of the literary journal Burnside Review.

Natasha Stagg: How does Burnside Review fit into the world of publishing today?

Sid Miller: I think we’re kind of caught in between worlds.  We still are (and will always be) a paper journal.  While we tend to publish less contemporary styled work, our aesthetic is more modern.

NS: Does it do anything that no one else is doing?

SM: I suppose every journal/magazine does something that no one else is doing, purely because of the editors.  Beyond that, our size and visual aesthetic is unique.

NS: Where are you from, and where do you live now?

SM: I am from Honolulu, Hawaii and live in Portland, Oregon.

NS: How do you feel about literary journals in general: simply a necessary means to an end, or something more worthwhile than even anthologies these days?

SM: It’s hard to say, and often depends on my mood.  It’s different with independent journals (such as Burnside Review). Are we a necessity? Of course not.  Is it purely for my vanity?  I hope not. I guess in some ways editing is just another form of artistic expression.

NS: What kind of stuff does your journal publish?

SM: Hard to say. Anything that breaks my heart. Nothing experimental. Something that shows craft, that I can see has been crumpled and revised, crumpled and revised.  Nothing that works solely by smoke and mirrors.

NS: How do we submit?

SM: Never a reading fee, only online. There are reading periods, but they’re never set in stone. Basically 3-5 poems. It still surprises me how many people still continue to screw these basic rules up. The guidelines are up on the website and really simple.  I don’t have much patience for people who can’t follow simple directions.

NS: Do you think literary journals are endangered?

SM: No.

NS: Is becoming “online only” something to be worried about?

SM: We’ll stop being a journal before we switch formats.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great online journals, publishing a lot of great work, but it’s nothing I’m interested.  I don’t want to produce something that you can’t put it in your coat pocket and then rest your whiskey on.

NS: Will only the fittest survive, and could this be a good thing?

SM: Of course and of course. We’ve been around 7 years, that’s getting into dinosaur years for an independent. I’ve seen tons come and go. Most people don’t think about sustainability. University presses are a whole different beast.

NS: Had you heard of Sonora Review before this?

SM: Of course. I used to live in Tucson and you’ve rejected my own work very recently.

This entry was posted in Interviews, Interviews with Editors by sonorareview. Bookmark the permalink.

About sonorareview

Founded in 1980, Sonora Review is the oldest student-run literary journal in the country. From start to finish, each issue is put together solely by graduate students in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona. All staff members volunteer their time. Former staff members include Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell, Richard Russo, Tony Hoagland, and David Foster Wallace. Work originally printed in the Sonora Review has appeared in Best of the West and Best American Poetry, and has won O.Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes. Sonora Review maintains a congenial relationship with the Department of English while safeguarding the editors' complete aesthetic and managerial control. You can contact Sonora Review via email at: Or by mail at: Sonora Review Department of English University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s