Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Interview with Dawn Marie Kresan: Local Publisher

This interview was previously published in Room Magazine (2002)



Q: Why do you want to publish? Why this project?

Dawn: I started this project because I always wanted to go into literary publishing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for that in this area. I had recently gotten married and we planned to stay in this area, so I decided to start my own publishing venture. After studying literature for six years, it was, and still is, really important for me to stay connected to the literary scene.

Q: Why did you call the journal Kaleidoscope?

Dawn: I chose “Kaleidoscope” because it captures the elements of diversity and movement. I want Kaleidoscope to bring together a diverse group of authors as well as writing styles. Also, literature, as in all art, is not a static form. Like a kaleidoscope, it is ever-changing.

Q: How do you get submissions? Who sends them to you?

Dawn: As in any new journal, the immediate problem is how to get known in order to generate submissions. One of the first things I did was to send out mass flyers to universities, heads of writing programs and numerous authors. I then created a web page on a free on-line server, which turned out to be a bad idea because they closed down their service and became a casino site. But I have done a lot of advertising on web sites for writers and poetry organizations. Authors mail me their submissions, which I then either accept or reject. I’m not looking for any particular style, but I am looking at the quality of work. For the first issue, features were done on Canadian, American and Japanese authors. I didn’t plan it this way. These were the authors that were interested. In the second issue, the features are all on Canadians, but I have no nationalistic agenda. I’ll publish who ever I find, who’s interested and good enough.

Q: Why did you want to make the journal international?

Dawn: I didn’t want to limit myself by geography. My journal still publishes primarily Canadian authors, and there are many fine Canadian authors, but there are also many fine Irish, American and African authors. The list could go on. In our so-called “global village” I see no reason to exclude people of other countries. Rather, I think a dialogue between different peoples and cultures is beneficial for further understanding. This is why it is important for me to include a translation section. There are a lot of great authors from other countries that unfortunately we don’t get the opportunity to read. Through my journal I intend to give much-needed exposure to non-English writing contemporary authors.

Q: Do you publish local poets?

Dawn: I certainly have no problem with publishing local authors. The first issue had two, and the new issue coming out has three. As I stated, it is the quality of work that matters.

Q: Why only poetry? Why not a mix of poetry and fiction?

Dawn: I chose poetry because it is my own personal passion. And from a marketing perspective, there are already many, many journals that combine fiction, art and poetry. I wanted Kaleidoscope to be more specialized. There has been a resurgence of interest in poetry. One only has to go on-line to find hundreds, possibly thousands of sites where people can post their poems. There still is, however, a large discrepancy between the people who write poetry as opposed to those who buy poetry. I think many people are put off by what could be called “academic poetry.” They’re afraid they won’t get it, that it is too difficult to understand.

Q: Who would like Kaleidoscope? Who makes up the market?

Dawn: Anyone who likes poetry. Kaleidoscope covers poetry from many angles — there is of course original poetry, but also articles on publishing, author interviews, book reviews and translations. I see, then, the target market as being people who like reading or writing poetry, publishers looking for new authors, and probably the biggest market will be libraries.

Q: Why review poetry collections?

Dawn: I think it is something that the literary world really needs. Poetry is already less popular than other forms of writing, and reviews of poetry books are scarce. This is why I give the needed space for one in-depth poetry review in each issue, rather than having the New York Times blurb style, which never does justice to the time and talent put into a book.

Q: How often is Kaleidoscope published and where can it be bought?

Dawn: It is published twice a year (spring and fall). Single issues can be bought at the University of Windsor bookstore for $14, or subscriptions can be bought for $25 through the mail. A subscription is a better deal because the cost is cheaper per issue, but sometimes people are only looking for one particular issue.

Q: Is Kaleidoscope and Palimpsest the same thing? What are you future publishing plans?

Dawn: Palimpsest Press is my publishing company, which was started about a year and a half ago. So far Kaleidoscope is the only book I publish. I didn’t call my publishing business Kaleidoscope because I didn’t want it linked to any one title. I do intend to publish full-length poetry books in the future, possibly in two years time.

Q: What is your background in? Did you have publishing experience going into this venture? Do you write also?

Dawn: I have my Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Windsor. I have had many jobs over the years, some to do with publishing and some not. I worked at Chrysler for six years while I was in University, and I’ve done contract work for the Windsor Review and for Black Moss Press. Currently, I work at a bank and a chiropractic office while doing my business on the side. Publishing poetry doesn’t exactly secure one’s financial future. I do it because I love it and because I believe that it’s valuable, but I still have to make money somehow. I am also a writer, and am working on my own poetry book, which I hope a publisher will pick up. But as of now, I have only been published in literary journals. But it’s a start, and I’m still young and have lots of time.