Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anyone Need a Snarky Rejection?

Yet another online journal is about to enter the scene. The editor apparently recognizes that there's a lot of competition for our attention, so she's attempting to carve out a niche for her journal. Rude rejections. Great. That's just what poets need.
Here's the relevant excerpt from the call for submissions:
[nameless journal] aims to shake up the literary magazine submissions process by promising honest and at times belligerent responses to poetry submissions. Poetry acceptances need more flattery and rejections need more snark. Expect responses ranging from "This poem is so beautiful it makes me weep" to"Meh" to "Reading this poem makes me want a cartoon anvil to pulverize my skull." 
Why would an editor want to respond with belligerence and snark? For the sake of a cheap laugh at someone else's expense? Sounds like this new editor is in the business of hurting people for the sake of being original. That's not what editors do. Editors are in the business of promoting poetry and poets.
When I checked the masthead, I was not surprised to discover that this editor is a student still in an MFA program. Let's hope she grows up before she does much damage. Such a bizarre intention regarding notifications suggests that this editor is not ready to be an editor. 
She also says that "Publication will be highly selective." That's if she gets any submissions.
To add to the entertainment value of her rejections, the editor will keep a page called "The Wall of Shame." Here she will post angry responses to her snarky rejections—"Passive agressive, nasty, and/or bizarre responses to poetry rejections will be posted here (sans personal identifiers)." How delightful.

For you sissy poets, the editor allows the option of stating in your cover letter that you want to receive a form rejection. 

I say don't bother. Just go somewhere else.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Appealing Online Journals

Following is the list of online journals that I've assembled from my recent search. I was already familiar with a number of these, but I also posted a query at Facebook and received some suggestions for journals I was not familiar with. I checked out each suggestion but did not include all of them. I excluded online versions of print journals, those with unattractive aesthetics, those that require a download, those that appear as pdf's, those that do not notify of rejection. I included a number that violated one or two of the items on my list of What I Look for in an Online Journal because they were strong in other areas. There are a few here that desperately need navigation buttons, Share Buttons, and breathing space between poems and sidebar information or contents. Two have cumbersome guidelines which I hope they'll trim down.

I also kept in mind that I'm imposing my own criteria. This list should not be construed as a Best Of list. It's not; nor do I have the credentials to create such a list. But I present these as the journals which I now find appealing and which others might want to consider. I should also mention that I have not included a number of fine but more innovative kinds of journals.

The Collagist—monthly
Each issue contains short fiction, poetry, essays, book reviews, and one or more excerpts from novels.

Connotation Press—monthly
Lots of good material in this journal. Most of the poems are preceded by an interview with the poet. Lots of reviews.

Devil's Lake Review—2x
Limited number of poets, some reviews and interviews.

Plain and simple. Gets the job done and nicely.

Goblin Fruit—4x—pays
Poetry only, "poetry of the fantastical," includes audio.

Innisfree Poetry Journal—2x
Includes reviews and a Closer Look feature in each issue.

Ithaca Lit—4x
New one, includes lovely art work in header on each and every page.
A featured poet with interview and poems, featured artist, 12 poets, non-fiction craft essay.

Mezzo Cammin—2x
Formal poetry by women. Also features one visual artist.

Beautiful cover art, poetry, prose, and art song collaborations.

Pebble Lake Review—2x
Poetry with audio, fiction, non-fiction, reviews.

Pirene's Fountain—2x
Lots of poetry, several features, reviews and interviews.

12 poems / 12 poets per issue.

Poems, essays and reviews.
Themed issues.

Redheaded Stepchild—2x
Exclusively poetry. Poems must first have been rejected elsewhere.

Still requiring snail mail subs but planning to soon switch to online subs.

Superstition Review—2x
Poetry, fiction, interviews, nonfiction, and art.
Art slides are a wonderful feature of this journal.

Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, short drama, and hybrid work.
Video essays are a unique feature.

Poetry and prose (variety of different kinds of criticism), book reviews.
No simultaneous submissions.

Valparaiso Poetry Review—2x
Poetry and reviews. Featured poet in each issue.

Verse Wisconsin—1x
Poetry, verse drama, lots of reviews, essays.
Some themed issues.
No simultaneous submissions.

Waccamaw Journal—2x
Fiction, non-fiction, poetry.

Wicked Alice—2x
Women-centered but publishes work by men.
Poetry, reviews, and criticism (current issue has only poetry).

Monday, May 21, 2012

What I Look for in an Online Journal

I'm sure you've noticed, as I have, the demise of a number of print journals or their transition to an online format. At the same time, I've also noticed the proliferation of online journals. There are several factors contributing to this proliferation—money, ease of building and maintaining, the ability to reach a wider audience, ability to respond in a timelier manner, and so on. But because anybody can create an online journal—even for free—not all of these journals are of equal quality. Because I believe that it's a good idea for a poet to have both a print and an online presence, I've been gathering a list of online journals I like.

But first I want to share with you the criteria I used in assembling my list:

1. No blogs masquerading as websites. The blog format doesn't have the feel of commitment and permanence that a real website has.

2. Absolutely no scrolling down in order to find the next poet and his / her poems. Each poet must have his / her own page. Scrolling is one problem frequently found in the blog masquerading as a journal.

3. Looks matter. Must have aesthetic appeal. Good design.

4. No black background. This is horrible. Initially, it makes a strong impact, but turns out to be really annoying to read.

5. No image behind poems. Completely distracting. Why would any editor do this? And yet some do.

6. Easy to read. No fancy font stuff going on. No weird stuff with colored fonts. Nothing that jumps up and down such as a typewriter with moving keys.

7. Don't want a bunch of messages on the front page. Don't make me jump through hoops to get to the poems.

8. Don't want a lot of busy stuff in sidebars, stuff that distracts my attention from the poems.

9. Appreciate the Contents on each page but not smashed up next to the poems. Very distracting. The poem feels squashed.

10. Ease of navigation—return link to home page, previous, next. Don't make me use my Back Button. Don't make me have to return to the Contents page to get to the next poem / poet. It's annoying to have to keep starting over.

11. All of one poet's poems together or at least with a forward button.

12. No pdf format. Some editors think this is a cool format as it sort of mimics a book, but it's more annoying than cool.

13. Bio note with poems. Prefer not to have to go somewhere else to find that information.

14. Must notify of either acceptance or rejection. Big fat zero to those editors who don't notify for rejections. Insufferably rude.

15. No complicated, idiosyncratic guidelines—I always read and heed but don't want to spend huge amounts of time figuring them out.

16. Share Buttons for each poet's page. This is a great way to expand the journal's / poet's / poem's reach. It is really foolish not to include these. Really.

In a few days check back here for the list of online journals I like. In the meantime, you might want to check out The Benefits of Publishing Online.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Invitation to a Poetry Festival

Schedule of Readings (times are approximate)


1:30-1:40—Lips: Linda Cronin, Jim Gwyn

1:40-1:50—Tiferet: Mark Hillringhouse, Linda Radice

1:50-2:00—US 1 Worksheets: John McDermott, Sharon Olson
(20 minute break)

2:20-2:30—Raintown Review: David M. Katz, Rick Mullin

2:30-2:40—Schuylkill Valley Review: Grant Clauser, Sean Webb

2:40-2:50—Journal of NJ Poets: Tina Kelley, Charlotte Mandel
(20 minute break)

3:10-3:20—Edison Literary Review: Deborah LaVeglia, David Vincenti

3:20-3:30—Paterson Literary Review: Susan Balik, Francesca Maxime

3:30-3:40—Painted Bride Quarterly: Miriam Haier, Susanna Rich
(20 minute break)

4:00-4:10—Adanna: David Crews, Lynee McEniry

4:10-4:20—Exit 13: Jessica deKoninck, Adele Kenny

4:20-4:30—The Stillwater Review: Robert Carnevale, Madeline Tiger

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Creating Luck

As you know I recently debuted my first e-chapbook, Twelve for the Record. Somewhere along the way I mentioned here that I'd had some help from others who had already done this. Without those people, I'm not sure I could have figured out the challenges of the correct formatting. At the very least, it would have taken me more time. I'm very glad that I did take on this challenge as a number of nice things have come about as a consequence.

One of the people who helped me was Joanne Merriam who runs Upper Rubber Boot Books, a press that does e-books only. She also has a blog at the website called Couplets where this past Poetry Month she ran a huge blogathon. She invited poets who would be posting interviews with other poets or related pieces to send her their links which she then compiled into single list. Joanne also did some interviews herself. As a result of our new connection, she invited me to be interviewed. Check out this 4-question interview HERE.

Joanne also asked if I'd be willing to be interviewed by another blogger-poet, Wendy Brown-Baez. I was indeed. So that resulted in a second interview on a wide range of topics, such as how I warm up to write, the use of humor, the making of a trailer, and the future of poetry. Check it out at Wendy's Muse.

Joanne's entire list of 133 links is available HERE.

Then Jama Rattigan, who purchased the chapbook, did the lovely feature at Alphabet Soup that I blogged about recently. And that led to several of her readers purchasing the chapbook.

I've also received several nice emails from people who either purchased the chapbook ($3) or took advantage of Amazon's free download promo. A few people have also thanked me for helping them figure out how to download the free e-reader.

All good things and proving once again how important it is to take advantage of opportunities. You never know where they'll lead you or who you'll meet along the way. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Feasting on Good Fortune

At her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup, Jama Rattigan—fantastic author of children's books, foodie, and poetry lover—has posted a lovely feature in her weekly "Friday Feast." Entitled Talk Almost Dirty to Me, Diane Lockward, the piece is a write-up of my new e-chapbook, Twelve for the Record, of which she says, "You just never know when you’ll get a sudden craving for an exquisitely crafted poem that gleams and glistens; it’s nice having a few choice nuggets in your back pocket."

The feature also includes "The Best Words," a poem from the chapbook. As she always does, Jama has beautified the feature with some wonderful pictures. Check out the picture of Humpty Dumpty's very original fan note!

In addition to her generous and enthusiastic discussion of the chapbook and my other books, Jama has created a very useful resource for anyone interested in checking out some of my other poems. She includes links to six other poems that were previously featured at Alphabet Soup. She also includes a link to a recent interview at Wendy's Muse and a link to last April's podcast at Dave Bonta's Via Negativa.

Thank you, Jama Rattigan!
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