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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Behind the Masthead: Dorothy Chan

Only a few weeks until Issue 55 is released! Meanwhile, we are gearing up for our special themed issue: CHAOS. Lauren Mickey interviews our poetry editor, Dorothy Chan, about boy bands, Nylon, and our upcoming issue.

Lauren Mickey: What are you currently reading (besides submissions)? 

Dorothy Chan: I'm currently reading a bunch of fashion blogs: We Wore What, Sea of Shoes, Luxirare, etc. I like to keep up with current trends in fashion and lifestyle -- I truly believe this enhances my writing and gives me a different perspective besides the literary. On the literary side, however, I'm reading The Crucifix Blocks by Todd Fredson as well as the current issue of APR

LM: How has being a poetry editor at HFR changed the way you write / read?

DC: Being poetry editor for 2 years has enhanced the way I read. Besides the benefit of reading submissions with greater speed, I'm also reading much more meticulously. I'm trying to get to know the person behind the writer behind each poem. 

LM: What is your go-to play-on-repeat song?

DC: Oh wow, I have so many. And I promise you, I'm not one of those writers who names obscure bands just to sound cool. Let's see, right now I'm hooked on 5 Seconds of Summer, this adorable band that's labeled as a "boyband," though they strive to be more pop-punk. I like their song "She Looks So Perfect" because it keeps referencing "American Apparel Underwear." Interestingly, I'm also a big Sinatra fan--I fell in love with his voice in a taxicab in Hong Kong when I was four. I love his duet with Bing Crosby from the film, High Society. With that, I love songs from old MGM musicals. As far as a playlist: "Evil" by Interpol, "Live While We're Young" by One Direction, "Biggest Part of Me" by Ambrosia, "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart, "Eyes As Candles," by Passion Pit, and [fill in the blank with almost anything catchy]. 

LM: Issue 55 — the “Chaos” issue — is coming out soon… Were you surprised and/or impressed by how poets incorporated themes of chaos into their submissions? 

DC: I am very pleased with the Chaos collection Jackie and I are curating. At first, I was worried we'd get hundreds of Dada poems, but there's lots of standouts in this collection. I'm glad that many writers incorporated narrative with chaos.

LM: I read your previous “Behind the Masthead” interview and saw that you read Nylon. Do you have a favorite Nylon covergal? (Mine is Tavi Gevinson, I think, probably.) 

DC: I love Tavi! I saw this fabulous pink fur outfit she wore on a fashion blog the other day. My other favorite would have to be Sienna Miller for the anniversary issue. I also like Taylor Momsen's cover on a summer issue of Nylon Singapore.

LM: What is your ideal writing environment (coffee shop, a dark room, lost in the woods, etc.)? 

DC: My ideal environment is anywhere noisy...hopefully with enough attractive things or people to look at.


Dorothy Chan is a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PlumeChaKeyhole, and Vine Leaves. She is a poetry editor at Hayden's Ferry Review

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