Q&A With Editor Jennifer Finstrom

Five editors have generously agreed to help me with the Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge, by providing, for a modest donation of $20, critiques of poetry. Jennifer Finstrom, the poetry editor of Eclectica, answers a few questions.


Which three words best describe your favorite poetry?
Personal, complex, and detailed.

Would you mind sharing a bit about your background?
I grew up in the Milwaukee area and lived in various places in Wisconsin until the year 2000 when I moved to Chicago. I grew up an avid reader, and my mother started taking me to the library when I was just a few months old! One of my grandmothers was a librarian, and I feel that I’ve always been surrounded by books.

What sets apart the poems you accept from those you turn down?
I ask myself if the poem is doing what it intends. I look for concrete details that let me into the world of the poem and create that world.

If you were a poetic form, which would you be?
A sonnet, but not a traditional sonnet. One of my own projects is a series of “almost sonnets,” so that’s what I’ll say I would be.

Do you pay much attention to cover letters? What do you like/dislike about them?I do like to read cover letters, and I find them interesting as a genre. I like to see something of the individual coming through.

List three favorite poets, an admirable animal, and your go-to beverage.
C.P. Cavafy, Louise Glück, and Sylvia Plath. I’m fascinated by owls and bats (when I was little, I memorized bat species). I love tea, but I need coffee.


Bio: Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program and tutors writing at DePaul University. She is the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine, and recent publications include Autumn Sky Poetry DailyEscape Into LifeGingerbread House Literary Magazine, and NEAT. For Silver Birch Press, she has work appearing in The Great Gatsby Anthology, the Alice in Wonderland Anthology, and Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, as well as forthcoming in the Nancy Drew Anthology. 


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