Moveable Type: A conversation with Jennifer Flescher, Founder of Tuesday: An Art Project
August 14, 2015
Will you give me a brief history of Tuesday: An Art Project? How did it start? There are a few answers to that: literally it started when I was just finishing my MFA program—fishing around in the middle of the night for places to submit—and I thought, “well, I should just make something.” But that’s a little misleading. My background is in studio art—including bookmaking and papermaking—and I have a master’s degree in journalism. Before Tuesday I had for a decade made holiday cards. Each year they got more elaborate, and near the end I realized that I really wanted to make the card come in different pieces. The last ones looked a fair amount like Tuesday. But by then I began craving more meaning—more publishing and less entertaining. I have also had amazing support over the years from assistant editors who really helped with the work and the moods of it all. CLMP has been incredible. Friends and poets all who really helped build the magazine. Maria Chelko, Associate Editor, is invaluable.
How do you decide on what you include in an issue? What are you looking for in submissions? Our publication is fairly eclectic, I like to think. Maria and I both read every poem—we talk (sometimes back and forth for a while) about which ones we like and why. We look for style and heart. We look for something striking—sometimes it is the beauty of the language and sometimes the idea. I have published poems simply for their bravery—or because they made me laugh out loud. We really like to see five or six poems. I always get sad when people send two and almost never accept them. It’s just not enough to really get to meet a poet. I guess I’m looking for risk and depth. For the photographs—first and foremost I look for technical quality. Then, again, as with poems, I am most interested in political and emotional depth.
Tuesday is such a handcrafted experience. Will you describe for me the process of putting an issue together? Well, it’s a lot of backache and Band-Aids to be honest... Design and layout are fairly standard, then they go to the letterpress for plates and printing. I unbox somewhere between 10–15,000 poems, line them up and put them in stacks. They are then hand-collated an issue at a time. Then the bands. Then the covers. It’s really kind of crazy thing. I often have a little group of people with some wine and cheese and loud music. Sometimes students. Sometimes just me. I used to be able to do the whole thing if I worked for nearly 72 hours straight. We are currently working on a redesign that should streamline even more of it. My kids are finally becoming useful. People suggest all the time that I move to a bound edition—it would be better economically and so much easier to make. But the unbound nature is integral to the concept. When you have a poem—and you love it—you have a place for it. I think each card is a home for a poem, and I hope we don’t ever give that up.