Thank you for the responses we’ve had so far. Every submission provides us with a moment of joy, celebration, and, um, awareness. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to point out a few important issues for each writer that submits, not just to our anthology, but ANYWHERE, EVER. Please understand that Nancy and I are both English teachers. Good ones. Award-winning, top-of-our-game, intentional and interested ones. When a teacher sits up nights getting guidelines for an assignment so crystal clear no one could fail to understand them, only to learn that some students haven’t bothered to read them, sending in assignments however they please, the message seems to be that they believe they are above all that instruction, just too good to take directions.
That’s the message a submission sends that doesn’t follow the guidelines. Let me say here that Nancy and I spent two weeks of discussion, tweaking the Call for Submissions, finally getting guidelines down to five, the number of fingers on one hand, so they would not be overly cryptic or repetitious. READ THE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR POEMS.
Before you hit send, ask yourself:
(1) Did I follow the suggested formatting for the poems? Is my name beneath my title, for instance?
(2) Is my poem under 110 lines? Have I sent no more than 3 poems in one document? Have I honored the request NOT to send pictures and art?
(3) Is my poem narrative? Do this easy exercise: What is the story your poem tells? Is there a character and a conflict present to create plot? Will this story engage readers enough for a discussion to ensue after its reading that will delight and enlighten the reader and stimulate discussion? If you had to write one sentence stating what your poem is “about”, what would you say? Consider these questions.
(4) Did I send a short third-person bio?
(5) Did I send a sentence about the poem and its origins?
And there you have it. Five fingers again. Whether your writing is considered for this or any publication is in your hand, for in following directions, you are telling the editors who read you that
(1) you were willing to read and respect the guidelines
(2) you believe in a level playing field in which all poets are considered equally,
(3) you are not entitled to special treatment, even if your poetry is spectacular, and
(4) you are a good citizen. (I threw that one in for the fun of it, but even creative people are called upon to follow laws that govern us all).
This said, we’re enjoying connecting with so many poets from so many different parts of the country and world. We appreciate that you wish to be a part of a collection that will encourage book clubs to embrace poetry as they currently do prose writings. Let’s start a poetry movement within our book clubs!