Hey there, hot stuff! Your talons are looking meticulously manicured today. In case you hadn't heard, we're open for submissions! Check out our guidelines and send us your very best stuff for a chance to be part of our weird, squawky little family. Capping off our editorial roundtable is Julia Ftacek, a woman who wears many hats. Julia will be reading poetry as well as managing our social media, but the staff mostly appreciates her as the cute little sister trying to steal our lipsticks and yell with us about boys (spoiler alert: those boys are usually 18c skeletons). Get to know Julia below, and if you haven't already, check out our interview series with our Nonfiction, Poetry, and Fiction editors!
Name and Position
Julia Ftacek, Social Media Coordinator/Poetry Reader and the cute little sister of the Lammergeier crew.
What’s your experience in the literary world?
Oh, I’ve published a little bit here and there, and I’ve been a poetry reader for Passages North, but most of my lit experience is totally academic; I’m pursuing a PhD in eighteenth-century British literature. It’s not really what people think of in terms of “the literary world,” but I’ve found that studying things like prosody and novel theory has made me a better reader and writer. You wanna talk grotesque? Not many people doing it better than Jonathan Swift and Tobias Smollett.
What are some works/authors that inspire you?
Oh my gosh, so many! Melissa Range, Li-Young Lee, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Trace Peterson, Ana Castillo, N.K. Jemisin. Is it too pretentious to say Dorothy Wordsworth? Honestly though, most of my inspiration comes from places that aren’t necessarily literary in any strict sense. I’m a pretty undiscerning consumer of pop culture—video games, reality tv, sitcoms, joke twitter accounts, whatever—and I end up finding a lot of inspiration from that stuff too. I mean, really, have you ever just sat down and watched The Bachelorette? It’s exciting! And strange, and hard to look away from. More creative writing should be like The Bachelorette! (Please don’t kick me out of the crew, you guys!)
What kind of writing would you like to see more of in the world?
I’m a total sucker for poetry that’s really rhythmic and metrical and sound-obsessed, sometimes to the point of not caring so much about the content. I mean, at the heart of it, the reason I tend to be drawn to poetry more than other genres is that poetry feels like the one place where it’s especially okay to take delight in the way things sound. Hailey Leithauser has a poem— “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”—that is so clearly meant to sound fun and energetic and alive with the energy of language, and I just think that’s so neat! Don’t get me wrong, I love works that explore experience and truth and all that but…damn, there’s a real childlike joy in reading sound words. So, I guess that. Just read a ton of Gertrude Stein right before you start writing your poem and I’ll probably like it.
What are your writing pet peeves?
Comparisons between women’s bodies and landscapes! I mean, everyone knows this is a huge cliché, right? If you’re going to do it, make sure it’s reeeeally interesting (and also not grossly misogynist).
Richard III’s entire skeleton lying beneath a parking lot. Honestly I hope mine is found the same way!
Julia Ftacek (she/her) is a trans woman writer and graduate student of British literature. Under a name long since dead, her work has appeared in The Gateway Review, Literary Orphans, Dirty Chai, and others. She resides in Kalamazoo with her many houseplants.