Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Delmarva Review: An Interview with Executive Editor Wilson Wyatt

The Writer’s Center is pleased to host a launch of the eighth edition of The Delmarva Review on Jan. 31, 2016 from 2– 4 .pm. (Learn more about the event here.) The reading will focus on DR contributor Sue Ellen Thompson’s Theya poetry collection about raising a transgender child—and a reception with writers and editors will follow. Marketing & Communications Intern Sarah Katz interviewed Executive Editor Wilson Wyatt to learn more about the history and focus of the Delmarva Review.

Sarah Katz: Can you tell me about the genesis of the Delmarva Review?
Wilson Wyatt: The Delmarva Review was designed to give authors and readers new opportunities. First, it provides an annual publishing venue for compelling literary work in the midst of an increasingly competitive, shrinking environment for the printed word. It offers discerning readers original literary prose and poetry while giving writers expansive readership exposure far beyond their local borders. People read literary journals for discovery.

In 2007, our publisher, the Eastern Shore Writers Association overwhelmingly approved the development of a legitimate literary journal that welcomed outstanding writing in English, regardless of an author’s residence. It was a bold step. Encouraging competition for space in print is a generous gesture by writers, to say the least.

The results are enlightening and heartfelt. Over an eight-year history, the Delmarva Review has published new writing from 216 authors in twenty-seven states, the District of Columbia, and nine other countries. Sixty percent are from the greater region. Thirty-seven authors have earned Pushcart Prize nominations. Some have received mentions in major anthologies and critical reviews. Still others have been discovered by new publishers.
SK: How has the Delmarva Review changed or evolved over the years?
WW: The Review is constantly evolving. Thanks to the Internet, and a positive response within literary circles, the Review has become an established and highly regarded “lit mag” or literary journal. The number of submissions has grown to over 1,000 per issue, in only eight years. We have expanded the size, offering 200 pages per issue.

We make small improvements annually to showcase the author’s work. Design and presentation are important. We now use the latest print-on-demand technology (POD) to assure worldwide availability of the journal in a printed format. We are also one of the first literary journals to offer an electronic edition, allowing downloads to digital reading devices like smart phones, tablets, and Kindles. This expands the reach to readers of all ages at a favorable cost.

SK: What is the Delmarva Review staff looking for in submissions? What are some of your favorite pieces from the new issue?
WW: We are all volunteers, working as a team. Our genre editors and readers look for evocative prose, great storytelling, and moving poems that exhibit skillful expression. Submissions are read by more than one editor, which helps to broaden our perspective of each piece. Historically, we choose a diversity of writing styles and topics, rather than focusing on one theme or genre. Ultimately, we look for universality, some feeling or message that transcends the page and connects us.

The current issue opens with a discussion about Sue Ellen Thompson’s celebrated book They, treating the subject of transgender acceptance through a unique blending of poetry and prose. Other human topics in the issue reveal probing expressions about loss, birth, death, love, healing, and finding a sense of belonging in a larger world.

As we seek skillful expression, we are looking for qualities you might expect. For example, outstanding dialogue will define the character as well as propel a good story. With poetry, we care about tone, structure, and the poet’s choice of words. Within nonfiction, we search for the universality that will beckon a reader. In general, we look for the story within the story, the levels that create dimension within a piece.

SK: What advice would you provide to prospective writers submitting for publication in the Delmarva Review?
WW: We encourage writers to follow the submission guidelines carefully. They are posted on the website We only read electronic submissions. Our current submission period is open until March 31. We publish in the fall.

Of great importance to all writers, please edit submissions carefully. Errors are usually a preventable detraction from good writing.

Submissions are competitive. Send us the writing you love. We receive more good prose and poetry than we can publish, but we are genuinely interested in discovering a writer’s best creative work.

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