Rob MacDonald let us in on his online magazine SixthFinch.
1.) Who do you imagine your ideal reader to be?
If I’m doing my job, there shouldn’t be one ideal reader. I’m trying to link some different circles together; there ought to be more cross-pollination going on in creative communities. If poets and artists are reading Sixth Finch, that’s a start, but if it ends there, then the whole project is a failure. I want to put out work that brings new people into the mix, people who don’t think poetry and art are for them. Part of what’s exciting about the whole Occupy movement is that it’s not just attracting atheists and vegans, right? It’s tapping into something that’s got widespread appeal and that hits a big, human nerve. Ideally, SixthFinch will reach unexpected audiences in a similar way. It’s just a matter of publishing work that wakes people up.
2.) How did your journal start?
At some point, I noticed that the journals publishing my favorite work tended to be the online ones. Unfortunately, a lot of them were using simple HTML templates, so I kept seeing great poems in 10-point Courier. I edited a poetry magazine called The Hangman’s Lime when I was at Wesleyan, so I thought I might know enough to put together a journal that would do justice visually to the work it published. Pretty quickly, I realized that if I was aiming for a better aesthetic experience, I ought to pester my favorite artists to contribute. I’m still incredibly grateful to the people who trusted me to give their work a good home in those first couple of issues.
3.) What other journals do you imagine to be in the same aesthetic constellation as you?
I’m thrilled when I hear Sixth Finch mentioned in the company of journals like H_NGM_N, Octopus, notnostrums and Fou. Those places are consistently publishing poetry that’s exciting, and the editors are also making the online experience easy on the eyes. AtGlitterpony, they always seems to have fun with layout, and I give them a lot of credit for taking pretension out of poetry. Absent and the recently redesigned Sink Review are both gorgeous. Then, in the print world, there are places like Forklift, Ohio and Typecast churning out one beautiful issue after another. None of the journals I mentioned are sacrificing quality for the sake of style, either. I’m sure I’m leaving out a bunch of others that I love and respect.
4.) If you had infinite funds or resources, what do you imagine your magazine would look like?
Everyone’s been incredibly supportive of Sixth Finch, so I’m not eager to change stuff and screw up a good thing. I build each page in Photoshop so that I can obsess over every single pixel, which isn’t particularly efficient, but it does the trick. If I had a different way to get the same look in half the time, that would be great, I guess. At some point, if I felt like I could do justice to the work, maybe I’d add audio and video components. And I’d love to create a forum where readers could chime in, but I haven’t seen a model that I like yet. For now, I’m fine with keeping the site pretty clean and simple, letting the work speak for itself.
5.) What is you favorite non-art, non-lit magazine? (This could be print or electronic)
That’s tough–nearly all of the magazines I read have some sort of art/lit slant. Even the music and math blogs that I keep up with are appealing to me on an artistic level, I’d say. I guess that GOOD might be the best answer, but that still feels like cheating since their infographics are half the fun.