Chloé Allyn is a literary artist, poet, Potawatomi woman and a community-driven leader. Allyn is a graduate of SCAD, a bartender and a friend. She splits her time between facilitating art events, projects, publications and work. There, she likes to prioritize working-class rights.
Why did you start “The Bastard’s Review?” What was the inspiration?
I started “The Bastard’s Review” (TBR) for a few reasons, with the primary motivations being a departure from the high art world and publishing machine to find an alternative to the submission and rejection cycle. I frequently want to do things my way, which was also a motivating factor. I think that when it comes to being a woman in publishing and in a career in general, I must take what I want instead of waiting or fighting for it to be given. The inspiration was from Professor Lough at SCAD Sanvanah after frequently finding my original ideas stifled by my classmates in critique. It felt like I was always being rejected as I tried to write and share my work. I decided that I would make my own club on the outside if fitting in wasn’t going to work out.
What’s the mission of the journal? Is it just writing?
The mission of “TBR” is to create a space for artists and writing that is not affiliated with “big” interests like money, large-scale publishing houses, the government and corporate greed. “The Bastard’s Review” is the club at the edge of town for everyone who never fit in or for those who have to fight for what they believe in just to be seen. I have always envisioned “TBR” as the space to say off-the-wall things and look at art sideways or upside down. As a space to answer questions the masses haven’t even considered asking yet. “TBR” is cut and dry, for the most part. It is a physical representation of the work within, a little gallery or brainstorm session to carry around with you. I’ve always seen books as something that gets beat up in your backpack or purse because of the relationship you have with it in your life as you read.
What is the process of making “TBR”?
The process of making the journal is still being hammered out. Presently, I do the entire process alone, ranging from solicitations, curation, sequencing, correspondence, editing, design, promotion, event planning and release marketing. I like it this way, but it can be scary to be at the only desk in the office, so to speak. I think that as much as the heavy lifting is done by myself, the journal would be NOTHING without the contributors, friends and readers who keep it relevant. So over a few months, I curate work, assemble it, market and promote the book, design the cover and relevant materials, submit the files to a press, manage finances, throw a release event, ship the books—the list goes on.
What do you have planned for the future?
The future of “TBR” is up to me, which is partially why so much of it is branding alongside my image as an artist. The lofty goal is Andy Warhol’s interview: successful and still relevant after I’m gone. But ultimately, “TBR” is and always will be my way of cramming a bunch of my favorite contemporary artists and writers into a book to share with those who want to consume it. I doubt my desire to curate and amplify the voices of my friends will go away, so I don’t see how “TBR” could either. I’ve been working on the project in earnest since 2016. The future of “TBR” will expand more in the cost than anything, I’d love to get to a point where I can fund the production of the journal with donations or T-shirt sales (so buy one) in order to both pay and provide multiple free copies to contributors. The future holds more for feeding my artists, that’s for sure.
Do you take submissions?
I currently do not take submissions because I am not in the business of rejecting people. The best way to get into “TBR” is to get on my radar by following the IG @bastardsreview or my personal IG @hotspider. I view “TBR” as a curatorial space. I also am deeply into mutual aid. I think that artists must offer each other opportunities and keep each other fed. Scratch my back and I’ll likely scratch yours.
Anything I’d like the people to know?
I want the people to know that the only way we are going to free ourselves as 21st-century creatives is to invest in ourselves as healthy individuals and in those around us. We are merely in the line of progressive change, and those who came before us made it easier for you and me to breathe. That must be our motivation for those who come after us. I believe that we are all going to the “top” together. There is no other way. Toni Morrison says, “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”
The next issue will be out summer 2021! Here’s the website: https://chloeallyn.com/bastards.