Readers and writers have plenty to take advantage of in Houston: diverse reading series, a slew of writing workshops, and amazing independent bookstores. One of the best hidden secrets for emerging writers in the Houston area is Glass Mountain magazine. The magazine comes out of the University of Houston, which also houses the nationally renowned University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP).
Besides publishing new work, Glass Mountain offers community to new writers with a reading series. The next reading comes up this Tuesday, December 5th, 7:00 pm at Brasil in Montrose – but if you can’t attend there’s still plenty to take advantage of!
Inprint Fellow and UH CWP student Josie Mitchell serves as graduate advisor to Glass Mountain. She told me more about the magazine’s Boldface Conference, designed specially for people who do not hold and are not pursuing an advanced degree in Creative Writing. The conference’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction workshops are led by Inprint Fellows in the UH CWP. “We also have craft talks, readings, and panels throughout the week,” Josie says. “And food. The food is great!”
I caught up with Josie and the University of Houston undergraduates who serve as Editor (Kim Coy) and Co-Managing Editors (Anthony Álvares and Amanda Ortiz) to learn about Glass Mountain.
CHARLOTTE WYATT: What made you decide to join the magazine’s staff?
JOSIE MITCHELL: I had an early opportunity in my MFA degree to teach a creative writing class for undergraduates. The best part of that experience, hands down, was working with UH students. In fact, many of those students are involved in Glass Mountain now, including Kim Coy, the magazine’s editor.
AMANDA ORTIZ: I became involved after I was granted the Nelson Scholarship to attend the Boldface Conference in 2016. I was really interested in the opportunity to read the poetry of other writers with potentially similar writing experience, because I also consider myself to be an “emerging voice.”
CHARLOTTE: How do you reconcile your separate roles as writers and editors?
ANTHONY ÁLVARES: I’m a private person and it’s hard for me to share my writing with other people. As an editor, I feel that I am able to encourage not only writers, but anyone with an idea, to share their thoughts comfortably.
KIM COY: Just because I’m an editor for a literary magazine, that doesn’t automatically elevate my writing or sense of taste over the folks submitting to us. I try to remember that the same way I’m voting yes or no on an author’s writing, other editors are making those same decisions about my writing.
CHARLOTTE: How do you choose readers for your reading series?
KIM: Generally, we look for one graduate student and one undergraduate student from UH, and one community writer. For issue launches, we ask local artists who were published in the forthcoming volume to read their piece or talk about their art to give those attending a peek into their process.
AMANDA: I know I’m usually trying to book readers who will be fun and engaging for the kind of crowd we tend to pull in when we host at Bohemeo’s.
JOSIE: I gotta say, these last few readings have been so much fun. Our last reading was on Game 6 of the World Series, which Bohemeo’s played inside. We had more people at our reading outside than there were watching the World Series inside. I mean, come on!
CHARLOTTE: What should writers know before they submit their work to you?
ANTHONY: This year we are all super excited about Shards, our online magazine. We are planning on launching a new issue every two months. […] I would like to see more contemporary reviews, as well as interviews and essays.
KIM: When reading prose, I look for strong language, whether it’s diction that helps establish character or unusual similes and metaphors. I also like to be surprised, but less in an O. Henry way and more in a Flannery O’Connor way!
CHARLOTTE: What should folks know about the launch tomorrow?
ANTHONY: When you see our magazine at the launch this Tuesday, you’re going to see a totally new format. I love the look of our latest issue, but folks should know that while our exterior is constantly evolving, what’s inside continues to be awesome work from some of the best emerging writers we can find.
JOSIE: There will be pizza! And the fiction winner of the Robertson Prize from the Boldface writing competition, Victoria Hodge Lightman, will be reading her winning submission.
Hope to see you there!