Friday, October 23, 2009

New review of Letters to the World in poemeleon

Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of Becoming the Villainess, has written a review of the anthology Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-Po Listserv. It's up at poemeleon. Gailey had exactly the same first thought I had: "I have to admit when I first heard about this anthology project I felt…dubious." She ends the review with a great summary of the reading experience: "... I like this anthology mostly for representing so many voices, so many points-of-view, so many stylistic choices, instead of the narrow range that most anthologies embrace. I’d compare it the experience to shopping at the produce department of the local A&P for many years, then suddenly finding yourself in the midst of Seattle’s Pike Place market, surrounded by stacks of marvelous fruits, vegetables and flowers from hundreds of countries, from every season, of every color and shape."

There are other goodies in the new issue of poemeleon, this issue's theme being Gender. Take a look.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Carefully considered my submission?

Here's an interesting response from a well-respected journal to which I submitted poems three days ago:

Thank you for submitting your work to Meridian. While your work was carefully considered, we are unfortunately unable to accept it for publication at this time.

Best,
The Editors

CAREFULLY considered? Ridiculous. How carefully could it have been given due consideration in three days?! I sent the batch of poems on October 17. I received the note on October 20. Now, of course, they might have a grudge against me. Or they might have been overwhelmed with work and this is supposed to be a form rejection.

But "carefully considered"? I picture the editor in his/her slippers and robe, sitting before the fire carefully looking over my poems and thoughtfully scratching his/her chin. To take or not? One? Several? None? Just how carefully were these poems considered, one wonders.

You have to remember, in most cases at literary journals, it's undergrads who are reading the incoming submissions. So, okay, the undergrad who happened across my submission actually read all four poems all the way through. Perhaps they even kept them around for a day and a half before deciding not to take any.

But can that really be described as "carefully considered by the editors"? For one thing, editors is plural. Could the poems have been passed around in the three days (and I'm stretching it -- it was more like two and a half days) they had possession of them.

These are not my worst poems, at least I didn't think so in sending them. I was aware of Meridian's reputation and tried to send some of my very best work. I don't think this "careful consideration" will incline me to try again, not that they encouraged that.

Just saying. Sometimes you don't really know to whom you're sending. You'd think University of Virginia would take a little more care.