We are Cotton Xenomorph. We're sure you've read the FAQ, so we won't repeat that, but we wanted to take a moment to say "Hi!" and tell you a bit about ourselves as a journal and as editors.
As a journal, we want to welcome you to this space to delight in new writing. We want you to feel safe here, to feel respected and wanted. We are very serious about that mission. This has been a longtime dream for us and we're not going to let anything spoil it. We're so excited for this journal, and we hope you enjoy your time with us.
From Co-Founder/Co-EIC Teo:
Hi! My name is Teo Mungaray. I live in Portland, OR right now and I'm finishing up my last semester at Pacific University of Oregon's low-residency MFA program. I've worked with a lot of amazing and inspiring poets at that program and I really gained a sense of building a literary community there. Literary citizenship isn't something you hear about often, but it's the driving force behind Cotton Xenomorph's NO CREEPS policy. To be a good citizen, we should be uplifting each other, giving of ourselves, encouraging, and protecting the most vulnerable of us.
For CX, I read everything, but I focus on poetry. I love strong voices that punch you in the gut at the end. Some of my favorite poets include (but are definitely not limited to): Carl Phillips, Sharon Olds, Kaveh Akbar, Frank Bidart, Dorianne Laux, Ellen Bass, Lucie Brock-Broido, Danez Smith, Jericho Brown, Mark Doty, Anne Carson, and Muriel Rukeyser. I'm currently reading Luck Is Luck by Lucia Perillo.
When I'm not reading and writing, I like to watch tons of tv/youtube/Netflix. I used to study online fan cultures, and the habit of consuming vast amounts of media is hard to break. I love floral tattoos (and have several, along with two poetry tats!) and craft beer. I do live in Portland after all! I can't wait to get to know you all.
From Co-Founder/Co-EIC Hannah:
Hello! I'm Hannah Cohen and I live in Virginia. I received my MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte in May 2017. Because I do not live in a major city with a built-in art/literary community, I mostly interact with writers online (that's how I met Chloe and Teo!) The internet and social media are such powerful tools in this day and age, and CX really values that connection we have with writers across the world. I've read far more unique and challenging voices because they were first published in online journals, and I hope CX can bring those much-needed poems, stories, and art to the world.
Like Teo and Chloe, I also read the poetry and fiction submissions as well as review the art submissions for CX. Long story short, I almost majored in Art History in undergrad so I appreciate the effort and complexity of visual mediums such as painting, drawings, collage, sculpture, mixed-media, photography, etc. I have a never-ending list of writers I admire so here's a sampler: Matthea Harvey, Quan Barry, Sylvia Plath, WB Yeats, Morgan Parker, Naomi Shihab Nye, Denise Levertov, Layli Long Soldier, and so many more.
I'm currently reading the essay collection So Sad Today by Melissa Broder (known as the voice behind the hilariously self-deprecating and depressing @sosadtoday Twitter account). When I'm not reading, I'm playing Super Mario Odyssey, drinking fancy tea out of my X-Files mug, or watching my favorite episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Sometimes all at once. I also like the color green.
From Co-Founder/Co-EIC Chloe:
Hello! My name is Chloe N. Clark. I live in Iowa where I teach multimodal composition/communication and creative writing. I got my MFA in Creative Writing & Environment, which made me really think about the way we think about communities and the way those communities shape our environments. I love the lit community, but have been seeing too many events within it that have pushed me away from it: harassment, hate, silencing. This is a driving force, as Teo stated above, towards our very strict No Creeps policy. We love the lit community and we’re finding great value in actively trying to make it a safer and more welcoming space. It may be work, but it’s the best kind of work to be doing.
For CX, I read everything but I have a real love of flash fiction. I love a story that feels like it can only exist as flash—as a novel it would hurt too much. That’s not to say I don’t love a joyful flash. Flash fiction should be like seeing the person you love across the street—for a moment, the distance seems too much but you know you’ll be across the street soon. A feeling both sad and hopeful, just like the best kinds of stories. Some of my favorite writers include Ada Limón, Ivor Gurney, Colson Whitehead, Nathan Englander, Helen Oyeyemi, China Mieville, Ray Bradbury, Kelly Link, Miyuki Miyabe, and Victor LaValle.
When I’m not reading/writing/teaching/thinking about teaching or writing, I do a lot of baking and cooking. I find the act of making food for loved ones to be a kind of meditative process. I also like to study up strange things from science, digital scholarship, folklore, history, and more. I also enjoy using GIFs on Twitter, watching corgi videos, and photography.