Rochelle Hurt, the founder of the new poetry review website The Bind, kindly answered a few questions for us about this new literary venture. Hurt is the author of two books of poetry: In Which I Play the Runaway (2016), winner of the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City (2014), a collection of linked prose poems and verse selected for the Marie Alexander Series from White Pine Press. She is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Slippery Rock University.
Tell us about The Bind.
The Bind is a website that reviews recent books of poetry and hybrid work by women and nonbinary authors. We post a new review each week, and many of our reviews are creative.
What motivated you to start a site that both focuses on work by women and nonbinary poets and creates a space for new kinds of reviews?
I think creative responses and unorthodox reviews can make the work of reviewing less daunting, and the work of reading reviews more rewarding. I’m especially interested in the ways that creative reviewing can draw out a reviewer’s excitement or obsession with a particular thread in a book, which I think is more engaging than a simple overview and evaluation. At The Bind, we like analytical reviews that take this approach as well.
As for the focus women and nonbinary authors: It seems that these books still sometimes get ignored or forgotten in conversation, especially by men. I hope that The Bind, as an online conversation about new books, can serve as small gap-filler.
What exactly is “creative reviewing?”
Our creative reviews have included lyrical responses, drawings, calendars, centos, games, quizzes, and plenty of other forms, usually accompanied by critical explications. Many of these forms remix an author’s lines in order to draw out a critical point the reviewer wants to make. I see this process as not all that different from the critical review process of collecting significant quotes and then linking them together through your own lens as a reviewer. In creative remixing, however, there may be a higher risk of misusing an author’s words, so a creative reviewer has a responsibility to remain aware of this and write consciously in service of the book being reviewed.
What can we expect to see from The Bind in the year ahead?
We’ve just added a few folks to our team of occasional reviewers and our submissions are increasing, so we’ve got a lot planned. A few reviews in the works right now: a natal chart, a lyrical index, a guided tour, a shopping list, a roadmap, a family tree. In the future, I’m hoping to incorporate more digital media like videos, games, and Twine stories. I’ve also been thinking about adding a feature on classroom exercises or pedagogical tools to accompany some reviews.
How can reviewers, or authors, become involved?
We post a new review every Thursday, and readers who sign up for our email list can get that review delivered directly to their inboxes each week. In addition to our weekly reviews, we sometimes have extra features, like Katherine Webb’s Bad Drawings for Good Poetry. We’re always looking for new features and creative reviews, so I encourage readers to submit. Anyone (of any gender) can submit reviews or pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org. More guidelines and examples can be found on our website: www.thebind.net.
For original poetry, fiction, interviews and art song, visit our magazine at www.memorious.org.