Boxed Wine and Slush Piles

November 2, 2016

Present at the Editorial Table:

M. Rachel Branwen

Kathy Volk Miller

Sara Aykit

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


Welcome, welcome, welcome to Episode TWENTY of Slush Pile! We thank all of our listeners, writers, and guest speakers for supporting this podcast and its mission.


We first launched Slush Pile at the end of March at the 2016 AWP Conference. We were thrilled with the enthusiastic response, yet confused at how many times people asked if we were related to Slush Pile Magazine, also debuting at 2016 AWP! We had never heard of this publication, so we hunted down their booth and were blown away by the ladder and a very tall stack of papers.We had the pleasure of meeting M. Rachel Branwen, Slush Pile Magazine’s founder and editor, and we invited her back to our booth for some boxed wine and great conversation! Then, we convinced her to come on air. 


M.Rachel Branwen is the editor of Slush Pile Magazine, the longtime senior reader of fiction at Harvard Review and the former fiction editor of DigBoston. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Adirondack Review, The Millions, and elsewhere. She is fond of: bougainvillea, red wine, mashed potatoes, unexpected conversations with oversharing strangers, long road trips, learning new languages, walking up hills for exercise, the thesaurus, her dog (Nigel, a pug), and the movie "When Harry Met Sally." She dislikes: headaches, mosquitoes, and the sounds people make when they're chewing. Feel free to look her up on Facebook here or here or Twitter @slushpilemag.


In Episode 017, we spoke to Jim Hanas about the value and perhaps impracticality of today’s slush piles. This week, M. Rachel Branwen was happy to talk about her thoughts on what the slush pile is really about, disagreeing with Hanas unapologetically. Branwen tells us about the history of Slush Pile Magazine, “championing” and “curating” works that Branwen believes deserve the world’s attention.


After explaining her magazine’s history, Branwen probed us for the history and executions of Painted Bride Quarterly. Kathy and Marion reminisce about their introduction to a group of people who work on magazines like Painted Bride Quarterly and Slush Pile Magazine simply for the love of literature. Then, we have veteran reader Tim Fitts and brand-new reader Sara Aykit discuss the democratic nature of PBQ’s voting that not only empowers young readers, but keeps the perspectives of older readers fresh.


M. Rachel Branwen embodies the pleasure of reading poetry and short stories like they are the only thing that matters. We had a great time discussing her more optimistic views on slush piles and the “staggeringly interesting” Slush Pile Magazine.


Check out the Issues Marion raves about here and here!


We would love to know how you feel about slush piles: are you Team Hanas or Team Branwen? Let us know on our Facebook page or @PaintedBrideQ with  #TeamHanas or #TeamBranwen!


Thank you for listening and read on!

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