by Women Who Submit
From: Women Who Submit
Vanessa Angélica Villarreal just signed on as nonfiction editor at LA’s own Gold Line Press. She’s an innovative poet who isn’t constrained by genre; her work is electrifying, form-melting, challenging. I asked her about Gold Line’s upcoming chapbook contest and her work as an editor.
How did you get started as Nonfiction Editor at Gold Line Press? What is it you particularly like about the press?
To be totally honest, it came out of necessity. I was facing a surprise separation from my partner of ten years with whom I built a life (which included financial commitments), and the prospect of getting my PhD on a limited income as a single mother living alone was terrifying. An administrator offered me the position to help fill the summer funding gap (no, we’re not guaranteed summer funding), and it was a great opportunity. I write nonfiction and lyric essays, my poems inhabit that gauzy space between non-fiction and poetry, and I’m most interested in formally innovative personal writing, so it was kismet in a way. I needed this, and they needed me. I’m working to leave my mark on Gold Line now, and I think it will be a great relationship benefitting marginalized voices.
I was going to try to find a more positive, less personally revealing way of answering this question, but I think it’s also important to reveal the rigors and challenges of women’s lives outside of the “writing/editing/submitting” vacuum. This is demanding work done in the face of hardship and overextension, limited power, limited resources, mental health challenges, grief, nurturing. It’s important to talk about the absurd scarcity of resources for women working in such specialized fields requiring expertise and experience. My answer should sound like, I love my job! I love submissions! I am passionate! But the threat of no summer funding combined with sexist circumstances marks my path, and that’s, to me, what never gets talked about.
What has the process been for choosing judges for the nonfiction chapbook competition?
I was like, who wrote the most LIT books of the last two years? I had a lot of folks in mind—the fearless Randa Jarrar, Khadijah Queen, Joe Jimenez, Aisha Sabatini Sloan—but I reached out to BEOTIS (a talent management agency out of Chicago) to inquire about Dr. Eve Ewing (author of Electric Arches
) and Hanif Abdurraqib (author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us
) first, and I was luckier than I could imagine. Dr. Ewing suggested they co-judge, and they agreed! So we have two superstar judges judging the Gold Line nonfiction contest, and it’s for a full-length book. I’m thrilled. Y’all—BEOTIS is a dream to work with. Read Rest of Interview Here