“Yolk literary is a Montreal based literary journal publishing the work of emerging artists all over the world.”
In this interview, Chelsea Moore, managing editor at Yolk guides us through the mechanisms behind the field of publishing, Montreal’s support system for emerging writers and Yolk’s missions and projects.
Yolk’s mission, on paper, is simple; we are a Montreal based literary journal set on publishing the work of established and emerging artists from around the world. That being said, to leave it at journal really only captures a part of who we are as a collective. It is important to us that our journal represents artists globally, but Montreal is our home and Yolk is very much shaped by this city. We want to stir something afresh in the heart of the literary community here and cultivate spaces where egg yolks and haikus can harmoniously coexist. There is a desire for more literature in this city and we are tapping into that call and building a structure for those voices to reside.
Yolk has a bi-annual print publication. Issue 1.1 was published this fall and our submission period for Issue 1.2 opened a few weeks ago, the theme is Home. Yolk hosted its first ever workshop featuring Endre Farkas & Carmine Starino last weekend which was a phenomenal success, despite having to be coordinated over Zoom. We pay homage to Montreal through our In Transit series where we publish pieces that encapsulate the pulse of the city, the metro. Yolk also hosts an Egg the Poet event, which will resume when it can operate safely and within the COVID-19 health guidelines. Our social media and website are populated by our indefinite digital publication series.
Absolutely. If a writer is going to make it in their field than it has a lot to do with their persistence and effort. However, mentorship and support from their community helps sustain their pursuit. Yolk is another facet of Montreal’s support system and that speaks to us being far more than just a journal. We are a sanctuary where writers and artists learn from one another and get connected. A beautiful example of this was our Zoom launch for Issue 1.1 where contributors read their work for one another were able to virtually socialize and begin to build their own support networks in the city.
Now, I can’t speak on behalf of all writers and artists because ultimately, we each face our own roadblocks and approach our respective art forms in entirely different ways. But there are a few fundamental challenges that strike us all. A large part of the early stages of your career as a writer/artist is getting exposure and establishing your reputation. The early stages of your career as a writer or artists are about honing your creativity and finding your artistic voice. This groundwork, at least for writers, helps direct you in your pursuit for publication. Once you understand your direction, it gives you a clearer path as to where you should be submitting your work and what kind of initiatives will be right for your ‘brand’. These are challenges that Yolk faces on a regular basis. We are always reaching into new territories in pursuit of exposure and solidifying our reputation in the literary universe.
Getting your work published is never an effortless process, regardless of where you are situated. Montreal has a number of respected publications in the city, whether it be University journals such as Soliloquies Anthology run through Concordia, or the Quebec Writers Foundation and Montreal Writes, there are places to be published. Each journal here has a very distinct voice and yolk fits into that in the sense that it is very unique in its newness. It is up to writers to determine where their voice fits in Montreal, which is a main part of our intention at Yolk, creating a platform for writers that feel their tone is not being entirely represented.
Yolk's editorial process is very standardized and modeled after that of many respected journals. One of the first aspects that we consider is the theme, for issue 1.2 our decided theme is Home. We try and look at a piece and determine whether or not it fits into our vision for the issues, that being said, we try not to let it limit us too much and leave room for interpretation. The editorial staff at Yolk all share a similar understanding of the tone and quality that we are looking for in our publication and that is really the most important part of our editorial process. We have a phenomenal group that we trust to make the calls and weed out the pieces that match our voice. We are fortunate to receive plenty of work and our editors are meticulous in their reading and decision-making processes. For a more practical understanding of what we are looking for, the guidelines for each genre are laid out on the website in the submission page.
Earlier in 2020, like most businesses, we had to completely transfer our operations to online. This resulted in the cancelling of events and redefining our goals and expectations for our second year up and running. If I can speak candidly for a moment, as a young journal, we were rather stumped, when in the midst of publishing our first issue, we were separated and relied on lengthy texts and Zoom calls to piece together Issue 1.1. Since then, we have come to realize the advantages of publishing in such a digital age. We have been able to put more emphasis on our ongoing Digital Publication series. As much as our team loves the feeling of a hardcopy, this has been a period of growth for the Yolk team. In the sense that we have a greater understanding of the importance of our online presence and the networking benefits when utilizing the digital world. There will always be a demand for hardcopy publications, but a huge part of publishing in 2020 is putting the same emphasis on your online community as you do your physical presence.
That’s a difficult question to answer as much of our future is dependent on the current global climate. However, we will continue to publish our bi-annual print issue, host workshops and stay connected with our readership through our Digital Publication and various interactive opportunities on our social media platforms. Eventually, we are looking forward to the day that we can host in person events and have a more physical presence in our city once again. But as of now, we are holding tightly to our belief that Montreal is ready for a new literary voice and we are going to continue publishing that voice as best we can.