Jake Friedman moved to Phoenix a mere two years ago, but he's already making his mark in the local writing scene. After working with Hayden's Ferry Review, the Central Phoenix Writing Workshop, and Uptown P.E.N. (an open mic night at Practical Art that he still hosts regularly), this literary buff is founding a journal with the hopes of supporting the local writing community.
The first issue of Four Chambers Press, a biannual publication of prose and poetry, is set for release in December 2013.
Friedman says his connection to other writers in Phoenix was a driving force behind the magazine's inception. Many members of the editorial board and those who have been helping to sift through the influx of submissions are also involved in local writing groups or open mic nights.
"All of us are interested in seeing Phoenix grow. We're part of that local movement that includes food trucks, restaurants, small vintage stores, bike groups -- all of these things that make our city what we want it to be," Friedman says.
The first issues of the magazine will include writers from across the U.S., but Friedman hopes to incorporate more and more locals over time. Four Chambers received an overwhelming 912 total submissions for this run. Friedman says the submissions were diverse, but he's excited for the chance to begin establishing a clearer aesthetic for the magazine. Above all, he wants the included writing to be accessible.
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Ideally, the literary magazine will also do a lot of community outreach, in addition to the usual publishing duties. Friedman says he'd love to host a series of literary salons, synthesizing the performative aspects of an open mic with the discursive elements of a writing group. He also notes that locals who order the magazine can expect hand delivery by bicycle.
And the name of the magazine ties in nicely to this mission. "I liked the idea of a circulatory system: of something that connects, and supports, and centralizes, and gives life. Of our city as a body. Of ourselves as part of this larger, more organic thing," says Friedman. "This fits with the idea of Four Chambers as a platform, since we're not really trying to create something so much as cultivate and encourage things that are already here."
The next submission period opens November 17 and runs through February 2014 for those interested in submitting their own writing. For more information, check out the Four Chambers Press website or follow the literary magazine on Facebook or Twitter.