“Why we chose it”: A new thing

BY CHIDELIA EDOCHIE

When reading and choosing manuscripts that ultimately make it into any edition of Sycamore, our editors spend a great deal of time discussing—and arguing for—the merits of the pieces they loved: Poetry Editor Josh Wild memorizes his favorites, then drops freestyle raps with lines from those poems whenever it gets too quiet in the office. Fiction Editor Conor Broughan makes small, painted portraits of the main characters from stories that he loves, then leaves them on our desks.  And I, Nonfiction Editor Chidelia Edochie, print my favorite lines from chosen essays on strips of paper and slip them into my colleagues’ things: their lunch bags, their shirt pockets, occasionally even between their teeth.

So we figured we’d like to share some of our “picking” process with our readers, and perhaps most importantly, with our submitters. What is it about a certain poem, essay, or story that makes us stop, light up, and then hungrily read for more? We hope that articulating “why we chose it” to our readers will help us understand our work as editors even more deeply.

Over the next several weeks we’ll be uploading whole poems and story & essay excerpts from Issue 23.1 Winter/Spring. Scroll down to the bottom of those posts for little letters from the editors on why they chose that piece. We hope you enjoy, and feel enlightened by, this new addition to Sycamore Review!