revisiting ten questions for poets – on poetry, publication, technology

This series represents a wealth of poetry and po-biz wisdom from a bunch of awesome contemporary poets. I used to have these linked as separate standing pages, but didn’t refresh that format when I changed blog themes recently. Have just added these standing pages back to the left-hand column, and got lost in re-reading while I did so. Thank you once again to the generous poets who participated for doing so! That wonderful group includes Ron Silliman and the late Reginald Shepherd.

TEN QUESTIONS SERIES
poets on poetry
poets on publication
poetry editors on publishing poetry
poets on technology

experiment in poetry composition (poets & technology)

Look what Edward Byrne is doing! We are flattered that he credits the current Ten Questions series on Poets and Technology as his inspiration for the idea. Thanks, Edward!

(For separate thought-provoking insights, check out Edward’s responses to the last Ten Questions series, for poetry editors.)

Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Edward Byrne

What goes on inside poetry editors’ heads? is a burning question for publishing and wannabe-publishing poets everywhere. With this third Ten Questions series, we are showcasing weekly answers from a diverse group of poetry editors to Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. Each editor’s responses will appear as a separate blog post and all posts will be linked back to the series’ standing page.

Our responder this week is Edward Byrne, editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review.

1. What drew you to editorial work in the first place?

I have always enjoyed editorial activities. I participated on the editorial staff for university literary journals as both an undergraduate and a graduate. My belief has been that closely reading and thoughtfully responding to the works of others foster skills that enhance the experience when encountering any texts. These actions also assist in developing an ability to read more objectively and revise more carefully one’s own poetry. I emphasize this exercise as an active reader when I advise my creative writing students. In addition, like many readers, when I come across impressive pieces of literature, I want to share such a discovery with others. In a sense, that describes the editor’s role.

2. Describe your editorial trajectory – when/where did it start, how long have you been at it, where is it now? What are your editorial ambitions?

My “trajectory” as an editor has not been continuous or easily charted. As mentioned above, I served on the editorial staff for undergraduate and graduate publications. When I arrived at Valparaiso University, there was not a journal devoted solely to literature. However, after I had been here a few years, a professor emeritus who thought there should be a literary journal established at the university approached me. He asked if I would be willing to act as editor if one were begun, and I agreed, but he soon learned the amount of funding needed to initiate a quality print periodical eventually prevented the project from being approved and going forward.

Nevertheless, in the late 1990s, when the presence of the web began on computers at the university, I discerned an opportunity to create an online publication that would contain the quality of a print journal without the costs normally involved. At the time the idea was somewhat novel and seemed experimental. Nowadays, of course, there are so many electronic journals, and numerous print journals migrating online, that it is difficult to recall or appreciate how innovative an action that was.

My ambitions as the editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review remain the same as when I posted the first issue in 1999. Indeed, the language on the journal’s information page has stayed the same since the premiere issue appeared: VPR “presents new, emerging, and well-known voices in contemporary poetry alongside one another, and this literary journal offers another opportunity for more readers to discover young or established poets whose writings deserve an even larger audience.” In addition, “this electronic journal has been meant to serve as a complement to print issues of literary magazines and poetry collections, not as a replacement for those traditional and greatly valued publications.”

3. Apart from following submissions guidelines, what should a poet sending work do (or refrain from doing) to stay on your good side?

Other than someone not following the submission guidelines, I have had little problem with writers staying “on my good side.” Perhaps I have been fortunate. Nevertheless, I would recommend those considering submitting should read extensively through the issues of VPR to get a feel for what has been presented in the past.

4. Do you co-edit or edit on your own? Talk about this choice – what are the pros and cons of both options, in your view?

Since I began the journal as a personal experiment, the publication has been an individual effort. In fact, when I started I had no idea whether the endeavor would succeed. Access to the web had just been introduced to the university, and I had no knowledge of online publishing. I spoke to my wife about the possibility of such a venture one day while we were shopping at Staples, and she noticed a self-help book on the shelves for publishing web pages online, which she purchased for me.

In the following week I sat at my office computer with the book in my lap and developed some sample pages as practice. I told nobody about my intentions, especially since I wasn’t sure it would work. I only spoke to the English department chair, asking him for permission to use the department’s website as a home from which an electronic publication could branch. I told him that I thought I could create a quality literary journal that would cost the department nothing except serving as its online host. I only needed to create a page labeled “vpr.” I’m not sure he even knew what I was truly undertaking or how extensive the project might prove to be (honestly, neither did I); nevertheless, as a friend as much as an administrator, he said “sure.”

In the beginning the technical learning process was difficult, but the task as editor wasn’t as time consuming or complex as it has now become ten years later. For example, during the first year total submissions to VPR numbered in the hundreds, which I thought was terrific. In contrast, this past year saw about 7,500 submissions, an amazing amount. In addition, the journal itself has become more involved — including more works among its contents for each issue and expanding its presence online though the editor’s blog (“One Poet’s Notes”), a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and other venues. In fact, the disk space needed for storing VPRhas grown tremendously since all issues are maintained in its archive; consequently, the university recently decided to moveVPR out of the English department website and give it an independent location online. This change of address initially caused some difficulties with many existing links around the Internet, but certainly it was necessary.

I like that the journal has held a consistent editorial imprint since I have been the only reader. At the same time, I have purposely tried to be expansive by including works that exemplify assorted styles, subject matter, and experiences, as well as accepting poems by writers from various backgrounds and in different stages of their careers as poets.

Since I also still do all the technical construction of the pages in VPR, I find the process time consuming and the product admittedly limited by my abilities. I have thought of adding an editorial staff and drafting some folks more knowledgeable of web design, and I may do so in the future. However, I would like to continue the simplicity of the structure in VPR and its resemblance to the traditional print journal as much as possible. Fortunately, the addition of the VPR blog a couple of years ago has allowed me to include a variety of audio and video elements without interfering with the reading experience of the journal itself.

5. What gets you most excited when you read a submission? How frequently do you get “exciting” submissions?

Whenever I read a poem, review, or essay that I can’t wait to share with others because of the quality and insight displayed, I find that impressive and exciting. Fortunately, this happens often enough to fill the pages of the journal.

6. How do you sort through and narrow down submissions and finally select pieces for publication?

I read and respond to all submissions by following a procedure used years ago when I was the poetry editor for Quarterly West. I have two wire bins on a shelf above my desk for materials received by postal mail and read: one contains the “return” stack for mailing back to poets and the second holds the “further consideration” stack of works that I want to read a second (or third) time before making a final decision. All accepted materials come from that second stack and have been evaluated more than once before a final selection is made. With email submissions, I follow a similar process, except that I have electronic folders with labels rather than wire bins.

7. Is your publication online, print or hybrid? Share your thoughts on the differences between these formats from an editorial point of view. Does your publication accept both snail mail and email submissions? Explain your policy in this regard.

As explained above, Valparaiso Poetry Review was begun as an online journal for economic reasons. Since my background consisted of editorial experience with print publications, I have adopted similar attitudes in point of view with my approach as editor of VPR. In addition to the economic advantages of an online journal, readers benefit by having easy access to the current issue, as well as all past issues, anywhere in the world. As a result, the readership and the potential audience for the works in VPR could never be matched if it were a print journal. Indeed, writing about this in an article at “One Poet’s Notes,” I once stated that I am pleased readers can click onto so many journals online, more than even any library could ever afford in individual subscriptions.

As I have written in another VPR blog entry, when the journal was initiated reputations of existing electronic literary magazines among authors and readers were spotty at best. In the past decade, opinions have changed as the quality of work in online journals has proven deserving of respect. For most, the stature of online journals is no longer questioned by authors to the extent it once was, nor does it continue to be an issue of concern for readers. Valparaiso Poetry Review today displays a wide range of well-known poets among its pages whose presence was limited to print journals only a few years ago. Nowadays, acknowledgments pages of prominent new books of poetry display many titles of online journals, including Valparaiso Poetry Review, alongside those titles of traditional print periodicals.

Also, when VPR was begun most poets submitted by postal mail. In the past decade that situation has shifted, and the vast majority of submissions received are sent by email. Other editors will confirm that handling email submissions is much more convenient for us, and writers will verify that email submissions are simpler and inexpensive. Therefore, many newer online journals now restrict submissions to email. However, VPR still accepts submissions in both formats. In fact, some of the best poems from a number of the well-known poets included in VPR have been presented only because snail mail submissions are acceptable. I know some poets we have published, usually older and more established figures, who will not send submissions by email.

In a recent informational piece on the VPR blog, I reported the following: the majority of submissions received in the first few years were sent by postal mail; however, a bit more than three-fourths of the nearly 7,500 poems received in the last year were sent by e-mail. Curious about the relationship of submissions to acceptances, I have examined the results and discovered that a little more than three-fourths of the works appearing in the most recent issues of VPR were submitted electronically, indicating there is no subconscious editorial bias toward either form of submission.

8. Talk about the challenges and opportunities involved in accepting or rejecting work submitted for publication by poets you know personally.

I am fortunate to know quite a few poets who produce incredibly fine work, and I am pleased that their poetry has been represented in the pages of VPR. However, I also have found myself returning submissions by friends and requesting that they send other poems another time. Since I am familiar with their poetry, I know the quality they are capable of demonstrating in their pieces, and that is what I am seeking for the journal. In that case, because I know their past work so well, I might be even more demanding of them.

9. If you are a publishing poet, how does being an editor affect your performance/behavior as a poet? Do you ever publish your own work? If so, why? If not, why not?

As I mentioned earlier, I believe my role as an editor carefully and closely reading others’ works helps hone my eye as a writer when examining my own work. In addition, encountering so much fine literature inspires me to want to write well. I also have greater understanding and appreciation for the tasks at hand for editors to whom I might be submitting work.

I do not publish any of my poetry in Valparaiso Poetry Review. On the other hand, I usually do include in each issue a review or essay I have written about others’ books. I think my critical commentary allows readers to grasp the editorial perspectives I bring to the journal. I also hope my reviews exhibit the seriousness and detail with which I approach all works I read.

I once observed in the VPR blog that “I was particularly grateful to those poets and critics who contributed to the journal, especially in the earlier years, based solely upon a confidence that I would place their works in an atmosphere reflecting literary integrity. I appreciated their trust that I also would exercise editorial judgment that would reflect well upon all the contributions included in every volume of VPR.” To me, developing the trust of readers and contributors seems essential for an editor and for the success of a literary journal.

10. Describe how you conceptualize what you are trying to achieve with each edition – e.g. do you see each edition of your magazine as a big poem, or as something else? How do you get feedback on the quality of your publication?

On a couple of occasions the issues of Valparaiso Poetry Review have been shaped by a specific concept. The Fall/Winter 2002-2003 issue focused upon confessional or autobiographical poetry in coordination with the editors of a recently released anthology concerning that topic. The upcoming Fall/Winter 2009-2010 issue will be an expanded special tenth anniversary celebration of VPR’s start in the Fall/Winter 1999 issue. Readers can examine the list of poets to be included in the anniversary issue at a notice on the VPR blog.

Otherwise, I organize VPR’s issues in a manner similar to when I once arranged pages for print journals; whenever possible, I place in proximity those poems that seem suited to one another on the basis of form, topic, setting, or some other characteristic. This process only occurs after all the poems have been accepted based upon the specific merits of their individual attributes.

Feedback from readers frequently happens and is encouraged. The home page of Valparaiso Poetry Review states that VPR welcomes comments from readers. If requested, remarks on specific works will be forwarded to the authors. In addition, for the convenience of readers, the journal’s home page contains a “comments” link to the VPR mailing address.

Edward Byrne has had five collections of poetry published, most recently Tidal Air (Pecan Grove Press). A sixth book of poetry, Seeded Light, is forthcoming in October from Turning Point Books. His essays of literary criticism also have been published in various journals and book collections, including Mark Strand (Chelsea House Publishers), edited by Harold Bloom, and A Condition of the Spirit: The Life and Work of Larry Levis (Eastern Washington University Press), edited by Christopher Buckley and Alexander Long. He is a professor in the English Department at Valparaiso University.

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Previous Ten Questions for Poetry Editors responses:

Steve Schroeder, Anti-
Helen Losse, Dead Mule
Susan Culver, Lily and Poetry Friends
Justin Evans, editor of Hobble Creek Review
Paul Stevens, editor of the Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea
Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean.
James Midgley, editor of Mimesis.
Reb Livingston, editor of No Tell Motel.
Kate Benedict, editor of Umbrella.
Christine Klocek-Lim, editor of Autumn Sky Poetry.
Lindsay Walker, poetry editor of Juked.
Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review.

This series’ standing page: click here.

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Previous Ten Questions series:

1. Ten Questions on Poetry
2. Ten Questions on Publication

Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Mary Biddinger

What goes on inside poetry editors’ heads? is a burning question for publishing and wannabe-publishing poets everywhere. With this third Ten Questions series, we are showcasing weekly answers from a diverse group of poetry editors to Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. Each editor’s responses will appear as a separate blog post and all posts will be linked back to the series’ standing page.

Our responder this week is Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review.

1. What drew you to editorial work in the first place?

I was tired of reading poems about flowers. I was bitter and wanted my own mechanism for revenge. I wanted to find a hobby big enough to accommodate my bounteous ego. I wanted to be taller, funnier. I wanted to be the one leaving remarks on rejection slips. I wanted to tell people to dig deeper, to care more about the human condition, all in mocking purple cursive.

Just kidding. That’s not me at all. Here’s the truth.

I believe in a version of literary karma where the good you do for others somehow comes back to help you. There could be a practical explanation for this phenomenon, such as how increased exposure to poetry through editing can positively affect an editor’s own poetry, but I prefer the mystical version of it. I was drawn to editorial work not for the thrill of playing god, but for the potential the job has to make people happy. I also feel quite passionately about poems, and wanted the chance to advocate at length for a poem that struck me.

2. Describe your editorial trajectory—when/where did it start, how long have you been at it, where is it now? What are your editorial ambitions?

I started in 1996 as an Assistant Editor for Mid-American Review. From there I worked as a slush reader for ACM, and an Associate Editor of RHINO. After moving to Akron, I used part of a personal Ohio Arts Council grant to start Barn Owl Review. We don’t have that many litmags in Northeast Ohio, and I wanted to spark something here.

In addition to continuing to edit BOR, I’m also the editor of the Akron Series in Poetry. That means reading over 500 book manuscripts a year, choosing finalists for the Akron Poetry Prize, and making decisions about my own editor’s choice title(s). On top of that, I serve on the jury of the Open Book Competition for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center.

Reading all of these submissions, both for the magazine and book contests, makes me aware of certain trends. This year I read a lot of ghazals, Portrait of _______ as _______ poems (à la my beloved James Allen Hall), and Dear ________ poems. By “a lot” I mean that it felt like the editorial version of the movie Groundhog Day. Call it Ghazal Day. Many of the poems were quite delightful. At any rate, there are definite trends, and I wonder what they say about the poetry universe at large.

Litmag editing and book editing have a lot in common, and feed into each other in a useful way. I’m also in the beginning stages of a hush-hush new endeavor that may, if rumor is true, involve publishing volumes of essays on contemporary poetics. Allegedly, I have one hell of a co-editor in this venture. But enough about the mystery project. It’ll be public soon, and I can let all of the cats out of all their respective bags.

3. Apart from following submission guidelines, what should a poet sending work do (or refrain from doing) to stay on your good side?

I have endless good will as an editor. When I open your submission, I have nothing but affection for you and your poems. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never published before, or if you’re someone I’ve solicited. I begin with excitement and a dorky sense of glee. I don’t care what font you use or whether your salutation is Dear Sirs or Yo Editor.

I appreciate it when submitters follow our requirement of making the sub all one file. If you send me five separate attachments, I may get lost between downloads. I like it when authors include a cover letter as the first page of the attachment. Some editors might not like quirky cover letters, but I like them if they seem sincere.

What else? I don’t know why folks withdrawing have to say, “I must withdraw my poem ‘The Shit Raccoon,’ as it has been accepted over at Blastsaddle Quarterly.” I guess I am mildly curious (and sometimes panicked! O Trey Moody, I was so afraid we’d miss out, and so glad we didn’t!) about withdrawals, but I don’t want to know, really, who else got it. I have similar qualms about book contest cover letters that list places where the manuscript was a finalist or semifinalist. It’s nice to know that the book is getting some recognition, but it seems a little like, “Jake, Fred, Paul, and Charlie all seriously considered taking me to homecoming, but didn’t. I am thereby offering you this boutonnière and hoping you’ll let me pin it to your lapel instead.” I’d never hold this against anyone, however. Nothing but good will from this girl.

4. Do you co-edit or edit on your own? Talk about this choice—what are the pros and cons of both options, in your view?

I need help. I take on a lot in my editorial life, but I am also somewhat of a delicate organism. I need people to talk to. I need someone to get excited at. So we have a fairly large editorial board with editors at various stages in their careers. In composing the editorial board, I wanted to represent a variety of sensibilities. When the subs come in I often think something like, okay, Amy Bracken Sparks will love this as much as I do, and Eric Morris may too, but I’m not sure if it’ll be Jay Robinson’s cup of tea, and so on. The best part of a varied board is being able to look past your own preferences to see the value and wonder in a poem that might not have initially jumped off the page and scrambled up your neck.

5. What gets you most excited when you read a submission? How frequently do you get “exciting” submissions?

Risk. I like risk, whether it’s related to subject matter or form, or anything else. I also like what some people might consider “raw emotion,” but only when it’s delivered in an artful way. I want to feel your poem, whether it’s making me laugh and scaring off a crappy mood, or horrifying me and making me want to lock all of my windows. I’m someone who is quite affected by the world, and poems seem to have a transdermal influence on me sometimes.

I get the most excited when I read poems that make me think of poetry in a new way. I get excited all the freaking time. Maybe that’s why I like editorial work so much. I have been known to jump out of my chair, to shiver visibly, and to squeal after reading a particularly striking poetry submission.

I have a special interest in queer poetry. I like a good city poem. The pastoral doesn’t appeal to me purely for pastoral’s sake. Something needs to be rotting somewhere. And, of course, I am a huge fan of the well-wrought love poem.

I don’t enjoy poems about hurting cats or kittens. If such poems arrive, one of my co-editors will usually note it on the spreadsheet so that I can recuse myself and go make sure that all of my cats are still present and unharmed.

6. Describe how you sort through and narrow down submissions and finally select pieces for publication.

I am governed purely by caprice. Sort of. Thankfully, BOR has a spreadsheet system where we record our scores for poems, and provide comments/arguments. Admittedly, we are slow. Your poem may hang out in our e-folder for a while. Sometimes I freak out and have to make sure that Jay sends a contract out stat. And until we hear back, I’m sweating.

We read from June through November, and just pick poems up as we go along. We narrow poems down by arguing and advocating. Sometimes we ask for revisions. We also encourage past BOR poets to send again, but we don’t necessarily give them preference. I love it when we accept poems from folks I’ve never heard of before. I also love it when I’m blindsided by an unsolicited sub from someone I greatly admire.

7. Is your publication online, print or hybrid? Share your thoughts on the differences between these formats from an editorial point of view. Does your publication accept both snail mail and email submissions? Explain your policy in this regard.

We are a print journal that only accepts subs by email. We’re poor. Aside from a few small grants, this magazine is funded by macaroni dinners at the Robinson and Biddinger households. We are hoping that our kids don’t get sick of macaroni, or else we might have to quit printing and become an online journal. If that’s the case, I really will have to learn web design once and for all.

BOR features a portion of its content on the website, and I do like the idea of open access to the magazine. But there’s nothing like slicing open that box of issues, nauseous over the possibility of typos or other disasters, and then the sense of relief when everything’s turned out just right.

8. Talk about the challenges and opportunities involved in accepting or rejecting work submitted for publication by poets you know personally.

I solicit a lot of poems for BOR. So naturally I will be publishing people I know. Rejection is an unfortunate part of the biz that we all deal with. Many folks who have gotten close with one issue had poem(s) accepted for the next. It’s also helpful that the editors all have different friends and associates. Whereas I might just weep my way through a rejection to someone I adore, another editor might be more objective and helpful.

9. If you are a publishing poet, how does being an editor affect your performance/behavior as a poet? Do you ever publish your own work? If so, why? If not, why not?

I don’t publish my own work. That would be most untoward! At least in the forums I’m involved with. I’m not very good at promoting my own work in general, though I write a ton and publish a goodly number of poems. I just prefer to promote my editorial projects and authors. I’m bashful that way.

Being an editor helps me understand what I can get away with. My new manuscript, which was written all in the past seven months, is a departure from my earlier work in that I am much more myself in the poems, in terms of voice. I’m having fun with the manuscript. Reading so many poems makes me nervy. My natural tendency is to push it.

10. Describe how you conceptualize what you are trying to achieve with each edition—e.g. do you see each edition of your magazine as a big poem, or as something else? How do you get feedback on the quality of your publication?

People send us nice notes! On pretty paper! And we get lots of hugs at AWP. So that makes us feel good. We release the issue at the conference so people can pick it up in person and we can hopefully dazzle them in person.

Every issue of BOR creates its own narrative. It’s a composite of the tone of the poems in the magazine, and the tone of the editors. Some issues are bound to be funnier than others. BOR #1 had a theme of religion throughout it, for no apparent reason. It was beyond our control. We choose the poems that choose us. When we put them together, sometimes they fight, and sometimes they disappear behind the garage for a little while in pairs. Sometimes the other poems watch those poems behind the garage. And sometimes a tornado rolls into town just in time to rock every foundation, and send us somewhere we never thought we’d go.

Mary Biddinger is the author of Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007). Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in 32 Poems, Copper Nickel, diode, Gulf Coast, The Laurel Review, North American Review, Passages North, Third Coast, and many other journals. She is the editor of the Akron Series in Poetry, co-editor-in-chief of Barn Owl Review, and director of the NEOMFA: Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She blogs at The Word Cage and teaches at the University of Akron.

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Previous Ten Questions for Poetry Editors responses:

Steve Schroeder, Anti-
Helen Losse, Dead Mule
Susan Culver, Lily and Poetry Friends
Justin Evans, editor of Hobble Creek Review
Paul Stevens, editor of the Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea
Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean.
James Midgley, editor of Mimesis.
Reb Livingston, editor of No Tell Motel.
Kate Benedict, editor of Umbrella.
Christine Klocek-Lim, editor of Autumn Sky Poetry.
Lindsay Walker, poetry editor of Juked.

Coming up next (once a week on Tuesdays):

Edward Byrne, editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review

This series’ standing page: click here.

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Previous Ten Questions series:

1. Ten Questions on Poetry
2. Ten Questions on Publication

Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Lindsay Walker

What goes on inside poetry editors’ heads? is a burning question for publishing and wannabe-publishing poets everywhere. With this third Ten Questions series, we are showcasing weekly answers from a diverse group of poetry editors to Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. Each editor’s responses will appear as a separate blog post and all posts will be linked back to the series’ standing page.

Our responder this week is Lindsay Walker, poetry editor of Juked

1. What drew you to editorial work in the first place?

Participating in poetry workshops was what got me interested in editing. I love the give and take, the “we’re all in this together” nature of workshop but that sort of feedback can also be extremely frustrating. It’s circular. There’s no finished product, no final verdict. With editing there’s a concrete end to each poem: yes or no, which is incredibly satisfying.

2. Describe your editorial trajectory – when/where did it start, how long have you been at it, where is it now? What are your editorial ambitions?

My role as an editor began in the fall of 2005 at a party held during my first week of grad school at the University of Southern Mississippi. I met this guy named John Wang who told me about some literary journal he ran called Juked. Eventually John and I became good friends and, as everyone working on the magazine at that time was a fiction writer, he asked if I’d like to read some poems for him. It’s been almost five years now and I’m still reading poems for him.

3. Apart from following submissions guidelines, what should a poet sending work do (or refrain from doing) to stay on your good side?

There are obvious do’s and don’ts: do be aware that if you do not read and follow the (let’s face it–ridiculously simple) submission guidelines we will think less of you as a person, don’t waste your creativity on the cover letter, do everything within your power to refrain from sounding arrogant or asshole-like, don’t get clever with your font or formatting, etc. On top of those I do have a few personal preferences. One is to put your best poem at the beginning of your submission (assuming it’s a multiple submission) followed by your second best, etc. You may want to save your best for last when ordering a sequence or manuscript but it’s a terrible idea to do that when you’re submitting for publication. Also, if you have a long poem (2 pages or more) consider sending it by itself rather than as part of a larger submission. I absolutely love formal poetry, surrealism, absurdism, prose poems, and humor; if you can make me laugh you’ve got an excellent shot of being published. Think twice before submitting a poem whose title is, or whose theme could be summarized as: “My Life is Terrible and I am Sad” “Feel Sorry for Me Yet?” and/or “Ode to Facebook/Myspace/Other Internet Phenomena.” On the other hand poems with kitchen utensils, sewing-machine brand names, and/or demonstrative adjectives in the title are always welcome (this list is in no way exclusive of course…).

4.Do you co-edit or edit on your own? Talk about this choice – what are the pros and cons of both options, in your view?

I co-edit on my own. Which is to say I read all the poetry submissions and make selections independently. I send my responses to John. John is both the fiction and the managing editor which means he reads all the fiction submissions, manages the website, does the print issue, emails our responses—basically he does all the hard work. For me this set-up is all pros: I read poems and decide whether they’re good enough to use or not. I tell John. John takes care of the rest. He’s amazing.

5. What gets you most excited when you read a submission? How frequently do you get “exciting” submissions?

For me the most exciting part of reading a submission is when a poem’s opening blows me away. A few notable examples: “For your birthday I gave you a sky-filled window. / When you looked at it you said it was so blue it hurt your eyes. / You said nothing about the tiny man cartwheeling through the air” (Jon Swan); “The figures gather. / They crowd around the table. / My scrawny grandfather coughs and wheezes / in his alcohol and pee-stained yellowed nightshirt” (Jan Zlotnik Schmidt); “What your beard else is I know not. What your lashes else are I admire. You depend on the strength of your brows” (Alina Gregorian). There’s got to be more to it than the opening, of course, but it’s exciting to enter a poem at a running speed. That being said, if a poem doesn’t end well, I don’t take it. I’m crazy picky about endings. You have to stick your landing: “in dreams you are my monkey / my pet / my partner in crime / you throw the coconuts / to distract the fuck face fuckers / I steal the diamonds / that will buy us /some time” (Misti Rainwater-Lites); “I can’t speak for you / but if I could have blistered in the alarm clock’s buckshot, / I’d have blistered; five more minutes, / I’d have gone up in flames” (Sarah Sloat).

I feel like I’m always reading exciting submissions. I guess that’s because they’re the ones that stick with me. Going by the numbers though, it’s not a huge overall percentage. Maybe two or three out of every hundred submissions I find truly exceptional, truly exciting. Maybe more. Numbers aren’t really my thing.

6. Describe how you sort through and narrow down submissions and finally select pieces for publication.

I read submissions in batches, usually about 15 submissions at a whack though that number is arbitrary–I read until my focus starts to slip and then stop. I don’t really use a “sorting” or “narrowing down” process any more. I read each submission (cover letter to final poem) and then decide yes or no without reference to any other submission. In the past I would take a batch of about fifty submissions, print them out, and spend hours sorting them elaborately into piles of “yes”s and “maybe yes”s and “maybe maybe”s and “maybe no”s and “no”s. What’s beautiful about online publishing is that pages, timelines, and budget restrictions don’t pose the same problems they do in the print world. If a poem captures us we’ll find room for it.

7. Is your publication online, print or hybrid? Share your thoughts on the differences between these formats from an editorial point of view. Does your publication accept both snail mail and email submissions? Explain your policy in this regard.

John started Juked as an online publication and that is still the primary format. We also have a yearly print issue featuring the winners and notable submissions from our annual literary prizes in fiction and poetry. This year our fiction judge is (the brilliant) Dan Chaon. The poetry will be judged by (one of my absolute favorite poets) Dora Malech. Also this year we are, for the first time, accepting electronic submissions for the prize issue.

8. Talk about the challenges and opportunities involved in accepting or rejecting work submitted for publication by poets you know personally.

To be honest I find it very difficult to reject submissions by people I know and like. I have to continually remind myself that it’s not doing them any favors to publish something sub-par. The reality is that it’s hard to separate the poet from the work, but it is, of course, absolutely necessary. If you can’t draw a line it’s not fair to let yourself read submissions by people you like. It’s not fair to your journal. That being said, I love getting and reading submissions by poets I know personally, especially past contributors. I get a big warm-and-fuzzy when I read good work by good people.

9. If you are a publishing poet, how does being an editor affect your performance/behavior as a poet? Do you ever publish your own work? If so, why? If not, why not?

I have no doubt that being an editor has made me a better poet. I didn’t have a single publication when I started reading for Juked (due in part to the fact that I had never submitted anything). Editing poems has not only opened my eyes to boundary pushing poems but also to the types of boundaries that exist to be pushed. I would say that reading submissions has helped me hone my own taste and style in a way that writing alone never could. It’s been an invaluable experience and without doubt has turned me into a much better poet than I otherwise would be.

When I first started reading poems for Juked I had this devious plan to send John a poetry submission under a pseudonym and then accept myself for publication. Fortunately I never went through with this idea. As of now I have yet to publish my own work on Juked and I seriously doubt I ever will. I could give you a lot of reasons about keeping my role as editor separate from my role as poet. I could also admit that I’m afraid my own poems would pale in comparison to the ones we publish. But since I don’t publish my own work I don’t have to admit anything, and I like that…

10. Describe how you conceptualize what you are trying to achieve with each edition – e.g. do you see each edition of your magazine as a big poem, or as something else? How do you get feedback on the quality of your publication?

Juked is continuously updated so there isn’t an “edition” exactly, it’s more of an evolving menu of sorts. Rather than compiling submissions into a single publication what we strive to do is continually present new and compelling material. As far as an overall, comprehensive vision well, maybe John could answer that. For my part I simply look for poems that move or inspire in some way—poems that grab your attention and reward your interest.

We get feedback in lots of different ways. Sometimes people email about a particular submission they like; we’ve been reviewed in NewPages.com, the Traveler’s Notebook, various other websites, blogs, etc. Sometimes we get to meet our contributors in the real world. Sometimes they pat our backs and buy us a beer—that kind of feedback is the best.

Lindsay Marianna Walker is a Ph.D. student in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. Winner of the Center for Writers 2009 Joan Johnson Award for Fiction, she has served as Poetry Editor for the literary journal, Juked, since 2005. Her poetry manuscript, The Josephine Letters, was a finalist for the 2009 Walt Whitman Award. Her poetry has appeared recently, or is forthcoming, in: West Branch, The Southeast Review, Gulf Stream, The Southern Quarterly, Specs, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Arsenic Lobster, The Jabberwock Review, and Bare Root Review. She has fiction published in: Smokelong Quarterly, Pindeldyboz, and 971 Menu; her play Boy Marries Hill is anthologized in Gary Garrison’s guide to playwriting, A More Perfect Ten, from Focus Publishing.

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Previous Ten Questions for Poetry Editors responses:

Steve Schroeder, Anti-
Helen Losse, Dead Mule
Susan Culver, Lily and Poetry Friends
Justin Evans, editor of Hobble Creek Review
Paul Stevens, editor of the Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea
Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean.
James Midgley, editor of Mimesis.
Reb Livingston, editor of No Tell Motel.
Kate Benedict, editor of Umbrella.
Christine Klocek-Lim, editor of Autumn Sky Poetry.

Coming up next (once a week on Tuesdays):

Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review
Edward Byrne, editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review

This series’ standing page: click here.

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Previous Ten Questions series:

1. Ten Questions on Poetry
2. Ten Questions on Publication

Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Christine Klocek-Lim

What goes on inside poetry editors’ heads? is a burning question for publishing and wannabe-publishing poets everywhere. With this third Ten Questions series, we are showcasing weekly answers from a diverse group of poetry editors to Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. Each editor’s responses will appear as a separate blog post and all posts will be linked back to the series’ standing page.

Our responder this week is Christine Klocek-Lim, editor of Autumn Sky Poetry.

1. What drew you to editorial work in the first place?

I’ve been involved with writing since high school, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to take the leap from writer to editor. I have a habit of printing out poems I like that I read on the web and thought it would be useful to keep an archive of them online instead of in a pile on my desk. My collection had grown to the point where I needed a second binder and so, at the end of 2005, Autumn Sky Poetry was born from a great, whopping stack of un-bindered poems.

2. Describe your editorial trajectory – when/where did it start, how long have you been at it, where is it now? What are your editorial ambitions?

I’ve been editing Autumn Sky Poetry since January 2006, four issues per year. I have no editorial ambitions other than to continue, keeping the journal small and manageable so that I can pursue my writing without being overwhelmed. To my astonishment, people keep reading and the quality of submissions keeps improving. I’ve been told it’s because I only accept ten poems per issue; that automatically limits the space available to only the best possible work. I initially started out with the ten poem idea because I wanted the journal to stay small enough that anyone could easily read it on their lunch hour. The result is that I reject many more poems than I accept but the poems I do publish are the best I’ve read.

3. Apart from following submissions guidelines, what should a poet sending work do (or refrain from doing) to stay on your good side?

Aside from the submission guidelines, I think one of the most important things is to send the poems in a format that is easy to read. I don’t particularly care for email with wallpaper, or blinking birds, or a typeface that looks like handwriting. Send the submissions in easy to read Times 12 pt. and I’m happy.

The only other thing that I find bothersome are those poets who send another submission immediately after I reject them. Please. Let at least three months go by, yes? If I must reject your work, sending me something new so soon flavors the new submission with the old, rejected work. I’m likely to reject the new submission, too.

4. Do you co-edit or edit on your own? Talk about this choice – what are the pros and cons of both options, in your view?

I edit alone. I chose this because I’ve worked on many projects in the past with other people. Those projects went well, but the time involved with emailing and/or phoning to try and keep things moving was extraordinary. It’s difficult to work with others on something as subjective as poetry because everyone has different likes and dislikes. Autumn Sky Poetry is filled with poems I love and that’s it. I don’t bother trying to please anyone else.

Also, working alone means I have no deadlines: no one else is depending on me to have work completed by a certain date. This way I can release an issue anytime during the month. Sometimes I have the material ready in the beginning of the month and sometimes it takes longer, but without any firm dates, the journal continues to be a work of pleasure for me, not a burden.

5. What gets you most excited when you read a submission? How frequently do you get “exciting” submissions?

I worry every reading period that I’m not going to get enough good poems for an entire issue, and each time I’m wrong. I get at least ten “exciting” submissions every time, or I wouldn’t have ten poems to publish. If I get less than ten, I go out and search for poems I like in online workshops. If I find something, I request the poem from the poet. That’s always worked really well for me.

What gets me most excited are poems that are written well. I like every type of poem imaginable: forms, free verse, prose, experimental, narrative, etc., but the single most important thing for me is that the poem works. Give me an example and I can break a poem down into pieces and explain exactly why it is working, or why it isn’t in terms of technical details, meter, emotionality, but I don’t have to think my way through all this to know when I first read something whether or not it is good. After reading so many poems over the years, for a poem to work, it must show a solid demonstration of the craft of writing and a reason for the words to be there. I don’t enjoy poems that are all technical virtuosity and about absolutely nothing. Likewise, I don’t like poems that are all emotion and sentimentality with an utter lack of craft. Give me metaphor and personification. Give me iambic pentameter, alliteration, and anaphora. Give me the story of your mother’s death or an explanation of how the sun falls into the front seat of your car. But most of all, give me a reason to read past the first four lines!

6. Describe how you sort through and narrow down submissions and finally select pieces for publication.

Every submission I receive is labeled on hold. I try to send an acknowledgement of receipt for every submission within a few days, but I’ll admit there are times I have neglected to do this (my apologies). I usually hold all the submissions until about one or two weeks before I’m ready to publish and then I read them all at once over the course of several days. I know within four lines whether or not a poem is worth keeping. Those poems that don’t capture my attention immediately I reject. The poems that I love I put in another folder (the possibles) until I’m done reading through all the submissions for a particular issue. At this point, I see how many poems I’ve got in the possible folder and whittle the submissions down to ten if I have too many, or go out looking for more poems if I have too few. Some poems I know I want to publish immediately and some I find grow on me with repeated readings. Some poems I keep for the next issue, if the poet agrees to wait that long.

I used to find this process much more agonizing when I first started because I didn’t trust myself to know what poems I liked and which I didn’t without reading the poems multiple times, but after years of receiving and going through submissions I find that my sense of aesthetics is much more finely tuned than it used to be. I trust that I know what is going to work for the journal and what poems aren’t, and I don’t beat myself up as much anymore over the poems that are sent to me. Once in a while a poem has promise but there’s a typo or two lines that just aren’t working. With these, I often reject them but add my editorial thoughts and encourage the poet to resubmit.

Finally, sending out rejections is still the worst part of the job because I certainly know how it feels to be on the receiving end, but ultimately, I have to be true to the philosophy of the journal. I want only the best poems, the poems I absolutely love for each issue. If I compromise on that, soon the journal wouldn’t be worth doing anymore.

After I have my ten poems, I begin creating the pages for each. After that is done, I send out a proof page to the contributors and my copy editor (who is a genius). After that, I make any corrections necessary and publish the issue, usually within a day or so of sending out the proof page. Once the issue is published, I post announcements on my blog, online workshops, Facebook, and Twitter and send out an email notification to everyone I know.

7. Is your publication online, print or hybrid? Share your thoughts on the differences between these formats from an editorial point of view. Does your publication accept both snail mail and email submissions? Explain your policy in this regard.

Autumn Sky Poetry is online only and will always be online only. I like the ease of it, both for publishing and fixing errors. It’s inexpensive. I can use whatever photo I want for the cover without worrying about color correction. I don’t have to think about distributing it. Everything about doing this online is easier for me. I only accept email submissions for the same reason: ease of submission and acceptance. I don’t have to retype anything or go to the post office. No one has to pay for postage. And finally, none of it takes up any space in my house!

8. Talk about the challenges and opportunities involved in accepting or rejecting work submitted for publication by poets you know personally.

When I first began Autumn Sky Poetry, I did not have open submissions; I asked for poems that I liked from people I knew as well as some I didn’t. Once I began accepting submissions, I received a few from friends. I treated their poems the same I do any others: I accept the ones I think are good and reject the ones that don’t fit. It helps that everyone I know is and has been remarkably understanding. I still feel somewhat unhappy at having to reject poems by those poets I know, but I don’t want to compromise the quality of the journal.

9. If you are a publishing poet, how does being an editor affect your performance/behavior as a poet? Do you ever publish your own work? If so, why? If not, why not?

I find that getting rejections is not as painful as it used to be because I myself have had to reject poems that were good but didn’t fit with that issue of the journal. There are many poems I liked very much that didn’t work because of the season or the set of other poems I’d already accepted, so I know how often an editor must make difficult choices. On the other hand, I also know how very random the process can be, too. Other editors have to deal with a committee or a contest judge whose taste is opposite their own. The way magazines accept submissions is complex and difficult. I can’t say I’m not often disappointed to receive rejections, but I try not to let it completely derail me from my goal: writing the best I possibly can and getting the work out there in the world.

I never, ever publish my own work in Autumn Sky Poetry. I have a personal website, and a blog. There’s no reason at all I can’t put my poems in those places (and I have). I don’t need to also put them on Autumn Sky Poetry. I only accept ten poems per issue, so having one of those poems be my own would be unfair and pointless. The journal is meant to showcase the work of others. As an editor, I like to keep my footprint as small as I possibly can. Even my Editor’s Notes are rarely longer than two paragraphs.

10. Describe how you conceptualize what you are trying to achieve with each edition – e.g. do you see each edition of your magazine as a big poem, or as something else? How do you get feedback on the quality of your publication?

Each edition is generally a mixture of types of poems. I like to publish seasonal poems within the season the issue goes live, though that’s not always the case. In general, I don’t publish theme issues or publish groups of poems that are all alike, though I must admit, sometimes it works out that way. I will reject a poem if the other eight I’ve already accepted seem to form a theme of sorts (spring, or love, or some other loosely conceived philosophy) but I rarely plan on that happening. However, I will be making one exception to this rule: October 2009’s issue will contain artwork from poets for the first time. In the past, I’ve rejected many submissions that included artwork. It’s been my policy that Autumn Sky Poetry is a poetry journal, not an art journal or prose journal. Over the years, I’ve seen some wonderful art, and have finally been convinced by one of my contributors to publish one issue that contains art. This issue will include poems with art that has been created by the poet to match the poem, or ekphrastic poems with a link to the art which inspired them. Anyone who would like to submit to this issue, please send me your work!

Most of the feedback I receive is through email, though I’ve also seen posts on blogs, Facebook, and online poetry forums regarding Autumn Sky Poetry. Each issue I try to advertise online through those outlets, and I’ve had nothing but wonderful compliments on the journal so far. It’s the best part (for me) about publishing the journal.

Christine Klocek-Lim lives in Pennsylvania. She received the 2009 Ellen La Forge Memorial Prize in poetry and was a finalist in Nimrod’s 2006 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, OCHO, The Pedestal Magazine, Terrain.org, the anthology Riffing on Strings: Creative Writing Inspired by String Theory and elsewhere.

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Previous Ten Questions for Poetry Editors responses:

Steve Schroeder, Anti-
Helen Losse, Dead Mule
Susan Culver, Lily and Poetry Friends
Justin Evans, editor of Hobble Creek Review
Paul Stevens, editor of the Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea
Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean.
James Midgley, editor of Mimesis.
Reb Livingston, editor of No Tell Motel.
Kate Benedict, editor of Umbrella.

Coming up next (once a week on Tuesdays):

Lindsay Walker, poetry editor of Juked
Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review
Edward Byrne, editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review

This series’ standing page: click here.

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Previous Ten Questions series:

1. Ten Questions on Poetry
2. Ten Questions on Publication

Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Kate Benedict

What goes on inside poetry editors’ heads? is a burning question for publishing and wannabe-publishing poets everywhere. With this third Ten Questions series, we are showcasing weekly answers from a diverse group of poetry editors to Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. Each editor’s responses will appear as a separate blog post and all posts will be linked back to the series’ standing page.

Our responder this week is Kate Bernadette Benedict, editor of Umbrella.

1. What drew you to editorial work in the first place?

“I guess you could say it’s a call” as Sylvia Plath says in Lady Lazarus. Of course, the web has made it possible for one person with a vision to become a publisher, and I did have a vision for a journal that would feature poems that work around a strong, central premise: an “umbrella idea.”

2. Describe your editorial trajectory – when/where did it start, how long have you been at it, where is it now? What are your editorial ambitions?

Editing itself is an old knack. In the late 1970s and early 1980s I worked as a book editor for Simon and Schuster, and then as a freelance for a while. Umbrella represents a return to working with texts and authors, work I truly enjoy. Umbrella’s emphasis on poetry makes the project even more congenial.

My ambition is to keep Umbrella’s standards high by publishing excellent poetry of an eclectic nature. I also feel that certain boilerplate styles hamper poetry’s power, so it’s also a key mission of mine to showcase poems that employ a fresh and ringing diction.

3. Apart from following submissions guidelines, what should a poet sending work do (or refrain from doing) to stay on your good side?

I appreciate what any editor appreciates, a professional approach. No snowing us with multiple submissions during a reading period, no simultaneous submissions if the journal doesn’t allow it, no complaints about the guidelines. There’s no need to be unctuous or ingratiating—those things convey insincerity—but please don’t rankle an editor from the get go! Unusual font faces and double-spacing make on-screen reading difficult. Keep good records so you don’t resubmit rejected poems by mistake and certainly do not be as clueless as the poet who submitted a poem to me that I had already published!

4. Do you co-edit or edit on your own? Talk about this choice – what are the pros and cons of both options, in your view?

Two wonderful co-editors—Rachel Dacus and C. E. Chaffin—serve as contributing editors and do prose pieces and interviews, as well as contributing a poem or two. They also serve as sounding boards when I am uncertain about a piece or when I recognize a submission that is in their special purviews. Rachel, for example, is my go-to person for ekphrastic poems. This year I’ve also been working with a guest editor, Robert Schechter, who has curated a special section on verse riddles for our Bumbershoot lighter-side annual. These people are all pro’s; there are no cons.

Otherwise, it’s my show, as it were. I read all the submissions, make most of the choices, and serve as my own webmaster. I see this as a big pro too. Response time is kept to a minimum and the journal kept true to its mission. Frankly, I have no desire to work on an editorial committee where consensus might hold sway over editorial focus.

5. What gets you most excited when you read a submission? How frequently do you get “exciting” submissions?

More frequently than I ever would have imagined! Each poem chosen excites in its own way. A poem scintillates when its umbrella idea marries perfectly to its execution … and when it moves me on a deep level.

It is also exciting to have the opportunity to publish a renowned poet, and we were just bouncing with excitement when Richard Wilbur gave us some children’s verse for our Bumbershoot annual this year (Summer 2009).

6. Describe how you sort through and narrow down submissions and finally select pieces for publication.

Nine times out of ten, I winnow them out right away. Really, this isn’t a difficult process because nine times out of ten, the poems simply do not fit with our published guidelines and mission. The remainder I sort into “yes” and “maybe” and a minority of “maybes” make the cut.

Often I create sample pages for the likely poems before I accept them. I want to read them over many times and see them formatted for the screen before making a final decision. It’s painful but sometimes I do wind up deleting these trial pages because, in the end, I did not find them rereadable—and Umbrella tags itself as “the supremely rereadable electronic journal.” Editorial preferences—mine anyway—are more elastic than you might think, though. I tend to “hang out” with the formalists and Umbrella is a form-friendly journal, but I write poems in many styles and moods and I want to publish poems written in many styles and moods.

7. Is your publication online, print or hybrid? Share your thoughts on the differences between these formats from an editorial point of view. Does your publication accept both snail mail and email submissions? Explain your policy in this regard.

It is possible that Umbrella will do some print versions in the future via print-on-demand technology but for the time being we’re an online journal only. I have neither the wherewithal nor the space to accommodate snail-mail submissions, nor the staff to retype the poems from hard copy. I have to html-code the poems and prose pieces but not retype them.

In some ways, the two areas—electronic and print—seem to be coalescing. Some print journals now accept online submissions and then format the acceptances into pdf files, which are then transmitted electronically for printing. How streamlined! No more deep piles of paper slush to wade through, no more copyediting manuscripts by hand and then mailing them off to a printer. I don’t think I’d enjoy working for a print journal which conducted business in the old way.

The print journal is still a beloved format for poets and readers but, given the economics and the new technologies, we will soon reach a tipping point and most poetry will be published in electronic form only. That’s not just a prediction of my own.

8. Talk about the challenges and opportunities involved in accepting or rejecting work submitted for publication by poets you know personally.

One becomes friendly with poets one admires and such connections bring a high caliber of work in. The down side is that, if you have any editorial integrity at all, you have to turn their work down on occasion—and then you feel like a cad. If they are real friends, they understand your position and don’t hold grudges.

An appearance of clubbiness is death to a journal, in my opinion. Though Umbrella get submissions from lots of new people each quarter, the proportion of publishable work from that batch is lower than I would hope. It remains an important goal for me to keep the roster fresh.

9. If you are a publishing poet, how does being an editor affect your performance/behavior as a poet? Do you ever publish your own work? If so, why? If not, why not?

I can’t say my behavior has changed but my attitude has improved. I used to dread rejections and feel quite miffed by them. Since I’ve been editing, I don’t give personal rejections a passing thought. After all, I have rejected things that have found good homes elsewhere; a rejection doesn’t communicate anything more definitive than that a poem didn’t appeal to one particular journal at one particular time.

As for self-publishing, I’ve only published a little light verse in our Bumbershoot annual and some editorial prose. In general, I believe it is bad form to publish your own poetry.

10. Describe how you conceptualize what you are trying to achieve with each edition – e.g. do you see each edition of your magazine as a big poem, or as something else? How do you get feedback on the quality of your publication?

Our “Orsorum” section is a miscellany. When poems on similar subjects make the cut, I place them in sequence for continuity—but any such continuity is just a happy accident. Our theme sections are a different matter. We’ve done special extras of “hot” poems, “cold” poems, spiritual poems and the like. Even so, the different tones and stances are quite remarkable. I don’t want to publish “one big poem,” I want to feature the multi-faceted and the multifarious.

Feedback comes in the form of both personal emails and public postings to online venues, and feedback has been encouraging. Then again, perhaps those who feel that Umbrella ought to be rained into the storm drains just aren’t speaking up!

Kate Bernadette Benedict is the author of the full-length poetry collection Here from Away. She lives in New York City, where she edits Umbrella, and where she has worked in the fields of book publishing and finance.

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Previous Ten Questions for Poetry Editors responses:

Steve Schroeder, Anti-
Helen Losse, Dead Mule
Susan Culver, Lily and Poetry Friends
Justin Evans, editor of Hobble Creek Review
Paul Stevens, editor of the Shit Creek Review, The Chimaera and The Flea
Nicolette Bethel, editor of Tongues of the Ocean.
James Midgley, editor of Mimesis.
Reb Livingston, editor of No Tell Motel.

Coming up next (once a week on Tuesdays):

Christine Klocek-Lim, editor of Autumn Sky Poetry
Lindsay Walker, poetry editor of Juked
Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review
Edward Byrne, editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review

This series’ standing page: click here.

<><><>

Previous Ten Questions series:

1. Ten Questions on Poetry
2. Ten Questions on Publication