Moveable Type: Rogue Agent
November 22, 2017
A conversation with Jill Khoury, Editor in Chief
How did Rogue Agent begin? What was the goal when starting the magazine?
Rogue Agent began because as far as I knew, there wasn’t a journal that focused exclusively on embodied poetry—which I define as poems that answer the question, What is it like to inhabit your body? I wanted to dedicate a space to tell the stories of bodies, specifically marginalized bodies, and I also wanted readers to appreciate the intersection of identities that emerges from a thematic focus on the body. Matters of gender, race, heritage, queerness, dis/ability, mental illness, motherhood, the impact of religion on the body, and the impact of societal expectations on the body resonate through our authors’ work. I started this magazine because I had run up against quite a few respected members of the literary community that thought poetry about these topics was taboo or not worth mentioning. The goal of Rogue Agent was to push back against those ideas.
Describe your decision-making process for selecting work to appear in the magazine.
Firstly, we are interested in poetry that takes the risk to be vulnerable in some way. We are also primarily interested in poems that draw on the lived experience of the author rather than the interpretation of another’s experience. As far as styles, I am more drawn to lyric and experimental poetry, while my assistant editor likes lyric and narrative poetry. We are open to a wide range of styles as long as the poem is well crafted. We only publish ten poems by ten poets a month (along with an interview and an art feature), because we want the reader to savor each item rather than get lost in too much information.
If your magazine has an ethos, what is it?
Rogue Agent opposes the erasure and writing-over of marginalized bodies and wishes to provide a space for them.
After Rogue Agent, what’s your favorite writing venue?
Some journals I admire and keep going back to are MUZZLE, Lunch Ticket, Really System, Pith, and Winter Tangerine. And of course, we are affiliated with Sundress Publications, so I have huge respect and love for what they do, in their many incarnations!
What is your plan for the future of the magazine?
I feel like we are really coming into our own. We are a young journal, not yet three years old, but we’ve put out thirty-three issues. I’m really happy with the artwork/interview/poems format we have finally developed. I’d like to see more video artwork. And of course, an ever-widening audience of readers.