Silk Road Assistant Editor: Simon Brooks

Simon Brooks photoMajor: Creative Writing

Graduation Year: 2015

Hometown: Ketchikan, Alaska

What do you look for in a Silk Road piece (or any writing)?

I am reviewing poetry for Silk Road. In a poem, I look for strong sensory details, tangible images, original descriptions, assessments of systems that provide profound perspectives on other systems that affect life, a lack of unnecessary words, sounds that go well together, rhythm, cohesion of ideas, seamless transitions, specificity, reciprocity, control of narrative, visceral verbs, innovation in creativity, accessible language, words with multiple associations, striking connotations, wit, thoughtful comparisons, aesthetic contrasts, relevant concepts, emotive power, unique notions, emphasis, philosophical residue, and/or an interesting message that I can agree with by the end of the poem.

If you could have ANY job once you graduate, what would you love to do? Money is no object.

If I could have any job once I graduate, I would love to write novels, poems, essays, short stories, articles, manifestos, a column, and maybe a memoir after enough time has passed, but definitely not screen plays. Someone else would be hired to translate one of my novels into a screenplay, but only under the condition that I closely oversaw every step of the process and approved every line. I would probably help direct the film, because the story would be mine and books that are made into movies seldom do justice. Also, every other week, I would get paid to be a judge in a competition of the world’s finest chef’s and bakers. Each round of the competition would have a different theme of renowned cuisine from different cultures all over the globe. Maybe I would write a gimmicky poem about the best dish of each round, and it would be put on the menu of whatever restaurant served that dish.

Do you have any authors (or pieces of literature) that inspire you?

Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite novelist. In my opinion, The Sirens of Titan is his best work. It inspires me because the science fiction narrative that’s present is captivating and relates so directly to the non-scientific nonfiction of (everyday) life. I do not have a favorite poet. William Blake, William Butler Yeats, William Stafford, William Shakespeare, William Carlos Williams, William Wordsworth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, W.H. Auden, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Alexander Pope, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Robinson Jeffers, Charles Bukowski, John Donne, and John Keats are all inspiring poets because I suppose they fulfill the criteria put forth in my answer to the first question, on some level.

What does Silk Road embody to you? What words would you use to describe Silk Road to someone who knows nothing about it?

Silk Road, to me, as someone with about a month’s experience with it, embodies an opportunity for students to learn about the many perils and gratuities of the publishing realm. Also embodied is the importance of the written craft, and it pains me to say this, but I have been taking too large a part in the embodiment of the disappointment that comes with bad poetry’s rejection. There are so many poems that get submitted, and there is no room in the magazine for poems that aren’t of a higher quality. I had never realized how many poets there really are, and I will never realize how many good poets there are. I’ve made some all too insensitive comments about the possible writing processes of these learning poets.