Interview with Stephen Tully Dierks


1. When did popserial begin, and what was your impetus for starting up your own lit-mag?

just for clarification, it’s pop serial, not popserial. i think some people have used the words scrunched together because they’re more familiar with the tumblr, but it’s a magazine, and it’s two words. it began in 2010 because i wanted a lit mag with more the kind of lineup i wanted to see. also, i had recently defended tao lin at htmlgiant at that time and i thought he’d be willing to contribute and figured if he contributed others would want to too if i solicited them.

2. I saw a post you made on fb about the pop serial tumblr having just reached 10,000 posts. Your tumblr presence/output seems pretty prolific. How does tumblr assist what you do with pop serial?

i use it to promote the activities of the authors i publish as a way to create a sense of community and a collective feel and to help with boredom. when i started doing that lit mags weren’t doing that, or at least not in the way i was doing it, and now it’s more common.

3. what pieces featured in the first four issues have really stood out to you, and why?

here are some particular favorites, by issue:

#1: “THE HOUSE YOU WERE BORN INTO” by Paul Cunningham

#2: “tonight, i mean” by Daniel Bailey

#3: “The turpentine camps of north florida” by Marshall Mallicoat

#4: “knee-high socks (feat. mister david lynch and other bitches) (explicit)” by Ana Carrete

“OPUS SEED IRIS OMEGA” by Ashley Opheim

“i’m eating a peanut butter sandwich when you make me smile” by Bianca Shipton

“nature poem” by Crispin Best

“There Is No Reason for Tigers to Be Beautiful, They Just Are” by Heiko Julien

4. in a recent interview, an anonymous facebook user referred to PS as ‘the most damaging thing in the community’, as it is not open submissions. Why is pop serial not open to submissions, and What do you think the person meant by ‘damaging’?

Pop Serial is open to submissions. I just don’t announce when I’m looking for them. But

I mostly solicit.

I pride myself on keeping an eye out as to what’s happening in the scene. So I will see new people that are exciting to me and I’ll solicit them and then they join an ongoing group of writers that come and go as things change.

5. i don’t really know you so i want to ask a few basic questions:

favourite & least favourite movie?

my favorite movie is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” least favorite: “The Hurt Locker” jk

favourite and least favourite food?

i don’t know. chicken tikki marsala. least favorite: mushrooms. 

favourite & least favourite band/rec artist?

favorite artist is Kanye West, favorite band The Beatles. least favorite band: Vertical Horizon jk

6. who are your 3 favourite artists working on the internet in 2013 outside of literature?

“working on the internet” — that limits me a lot. i mostly like music and film people who aren’t primarily based on the internet, i guess. some of my favorite musicians outside of Kanye are Julian Casablancas, The-Dream, R. Kelly.. as you can see I like cool-ass, ambitious motherfuckers jk . For movies I like Wong Kar-Wai, Whit Stillman, Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry.

7. anyone ‘in’ lit/alt lit/internet writing who you’d like to ‘hype’ a little?

i would like [to hype] my own damn self. i don’t know if people realize i write shit too. that’s my main ambition, not editing.

8. what have you written that you’re particularly happy with? 

i like this thing i wrote called “Jesus was a Zen Buddhist” and this other thing called “Fantasy”

9. Do you have anything ‘in the works’ right now?

i’m working on a story called “Mari in a Rice Field.” it’s about a teenage girl who’s restless.

10. what, if anything, can you tell us about issue 5 of popserial?

i don’t know

11. what are you most looking forward to/excited about/thinking about in the coming year? (rest of 2013?)

i’m excited for Sarah Jean Alexander and Gabby Gabby to move to new york. i’m excited for my first NYC summer (woohoo! jk). i’m excited to write more. i’m excited to fall in love and impregnate a woman with triplets.

Thank you for your questions.

3 thoughts on “Interview with Stephen Tully Dierks

  1. I enjoy this blog a lot but I feel as though the interview of this disrespectful hack is below it. Please keep up the good work but avoid this type of self important non talent writer in the future. Thank you and please keep up the generally good work!


  2. this was a sweet interview, I liked all the links and I’m glad that Stephen Tully Dierks is writing…I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve read by him, he’s very good

    if it weren’t for Dierks and Pop Serial, alt lit would be much smaller and less interesting, with less writers to read…Dierks has been promoting and encouraging other writers for a long time

    he works way way harder than most people, he’s one of the most dedicated literary people I can think of

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