Jane and I first want to thank those of you who submitted to our Well-Versed Reader project for your patience as we've worked our way through, making decisions about which poems work best with our vision for this anthology.
We aren't used to being on this side of the submissions process. We've both spent lots of time writing and submitting and waiting. And waiting. Since we both have a long history as English teachers, we recognized similarities between grading essays and sifting through poems. I know I often invested far more time grading papers that students would have believed. I wanted to be fair, and I didn't want to slip into "grade slide," gradually accepting weaker papers because I was worn out OR grading more harshly as I got tired. Avoiding these extremes meant reading and re-reading. It meant I had to recognize when I was too tired to be fair (or fully conscious).
As we have worked through the poems, we recognize that some poets have submitted lovely poems that just don't match our concept of narrative poetry. Throughout the reading, we've each tried to imagine that ideal reader: someone who loves to read fiction but who feels uncertain when facing poetry. We want to woo readers to this genre we love.
My move to Nashville complicated our process, but we've spent hours (literally, hours) on the phone discussing every poem, every poet. On behalf of both of us, Jane is sending the results of our painstaking process to all of you.
We look forward to putting together a collection of poems that will appeal to a broad readership and one in which our poets will be proud to be represented.
As we approach the next stage, editing, arranging, shaping this book into the final project we envision, we hope you're back at your desk or laptop or curled up in your comfy chair writing more good poems.