abbie leavensPoetry Editor Abbie Leavens describes how she wants poems that bite with absolutely necessary language, how poets can’t be afraid to let their poetry hurt, and how to approach writing with a full head.


Q) How did you learn about/become involved with Eckleburg?

Abbie Leavens: I first met The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review when it was transitioning from Moon Milk Review into its beautiful, present form. I was fortunate enough to have a poem of mine, “Control”, accepted for publication at Eckleburg, and later, when the opportunity arose to work with the brilliant minds in the poetry department I jumped at the chance.


Q) What genre do you edit/what role do you have?

AL: I believe my official title is Poetry Editor, or at a minimum that’s what follows my Eckleburg emails. I have the great fortune to read and review the poetry that comes into Eckleburg, as well as help determine what we keep and, finally, upload accepted work to the review.


Q) What are you looking for in submissions?

AL: I tend to favor language that is uncomplicated, but absolutely necessary. Any poem that evokes a visceral reaction is gold. It has to feel real, it has to bite—don’t be afraid to let it hurt.


Q) What have been one or two of your favorite pieces you have seen in Eckleburg so far?

AL: I am a big fan of Amye Archer’s recent poem “Eating Children on a Fall Day”. I also dig the whole lot of nonfiction that has found a home at Eckleburg because I am totally in love with other peoples’ realities.


Q) What are some publications you have/accomplishments you want to share?

AL: Other than Eckleburg, I’ve had poems in Barnstorm, BlazeVOX, BLOOM, The Boiler Journal, Crusader, fortyouncebachelors, Reed, Wilde, Xenith, short fiction in The Battered Suitcase, and nonfiction in Gargoyle. I have a poem forthcoming in The Squaw Valley Review. I am proud to have been a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry 2012 and a Squaw Valley Community of Writers Fellow in Poetry 2012.


Q) How do you approach writing?

AL: With hot tea, a clicky pen, and a full head.


Q) In 5 words or less, describe what kind of a journal you think Eckleburg is.

AL: Smart, Sleek, Sassy, Bold, Unabashed.


Abbie J. Leavens grew up in Iowa. She lives and writes in Los Angeles, California. She teaches composition at UC-Irvine and Long Beach City College. A proud mother of two spirited boys, Abbie spends her moments of escape at little league baseball games and tries to see the ocean as often as she can. She is the poetry editor of The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.


Abbie Leavens
Abbie Leavens received her MFA in Poetry from UC-Irvine, and currently teaches composition at UC-Irvine, as well as Long Beach City College. A 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry and a 2012 Squaw Valley Community of Writers Fellow, her poems have appeared online and in various journals including Barnstorm, BlazeVOX, BLOOM, The Boiler Journal, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, fortyouncebachelors, REED, Wilde, and Xenith, and are forthcoming in The Squaw Valley Review. Abbie lives on the 5 and the 101, but sometimes gets to visit her home in Los Angeles.