Arts’ Watch: ‘The Uncommon Grackle’
Published 10:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2023
By Bill McCann
Over the past few years, the Gateway Regional Arts Center in Mt. Sterling has published a literary journal—”The Uncommon Grackle”—which has featured poetry, short stories, flash fiction, essays, art, photography and more. Typically, issues have come out in May and October with readings by writers whose work was published in that issue, following shortly afterward. Some of my works have been published in the “Grackle.” Yet, so far in 2023, the journal hasn’t made an appearance, so I contacted its editor, Allen Blair of Mt. Sterling, to find out what was going on. Specifically, I sent him three questions. His answers (prefaced AB) are below and are unedited.
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“The Uncommon Grackle” has become a regular twice-a-year feature of the Gateway Regional Art Center over the last few years. The literary journal that you edited and the readings by those whose works were featured in the Grackle were regular parts of my writing life over that time. Certainly, the Grackle and the readings have been noticeably missing this year. What happened?
The company behind “The Uncommon Grackle’s” online submissions portal, Green Submissions, unexpectedly removed their product, resulting in the loss of all our data. Coupled with time constraints – as creator and editor of the literary zine, I am a volunteer and staff of one – we unfortunately have been delayed, much as we did during the COVID years. However, I’m excited to say that our publisher – the Gateway Regional Arts Center – has filled the void with a dramatic increase in literary programming this year. The GRAC hosted national poet laureate Ada Limon and Kentucky author Silas House, increased theatrical performances and film showings, and organized the Kentucky youth poet laureate series, to name a few.
You sent me an email a few weeks ago suggesting that you, as editor, will put out an issue later this year. When will that happen, what genres are you looking to include in this next issue and how may people submit their works for consideration?
The “Grackle” made an emergency submissions call this summer, and I’ve reached out to as many writers and artists as I could to recover previously submitted work. We will publish a comprehensive 2023 issue in October. Submission info and guidelines are online at https://www.grackentucky.org/grackle. All genres are welcome, but the best way to see what we’re looking for is to read the back issues online at https://thegrackle.magcloud.com/. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 1.
What does the future look like? Will “The Uncommon Grackle” continue as a twice-yearly publication? Is the publication’s philosophy going to change, and if so, how?
It’s my hope to continue publishing the “Grackle” twice a year as an outlet – a home – for writers, photographers, artists, and creatives of the Gateway region, central Kentucky, and Appalachia. That philosophy will not change. I am looking at more ways to support creatives, such as guest editors, extra online-only themed editions, and traveling open mic shows. Writers or creatives who want to help support our efforts may contact me at MrAllenBlair@gmail.com.