Monday, June 23, 2008

Autumn Sky Poetry 10 now live!


The tenth issue of Autumn Sky Poetry is now online.

Read poems by Elizabeth H. Barbato, John Byrne, Bebe Cook, Kathryn Good-Schiff, Christina Kapp, Marybeth Rua-Larsen, Nic Sebastian, Cheryl Snell, Farren Stanley, and S. Thomas Summers.

—It's all about the poetry.

Christine Klocek-Lim, Editor

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Proof pages are out

So now I'm waiting on my copyeditors and contributors. I hate sending out pages with errors, which is why I always like to give the poets a chance to look over their work and bios before publishing the issue. Even then, mistakes slip through. I have a policy of changing any errors even if the issue has already been published. Just FYI.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I finished reading all submissions

and was thrilled to find enough good poetry for two issues! So, I have closed submissions for Autumn Sky Poetry until September 15, 2008.

Now, on to the page layout portion. This should only take me a few days, barring any emergencies.

FYI: I've noticed that the latest version of Firefox (3.0) is wiggy on the graphics support. So, looks like some pages will have good photo reproduction and some won't (specifically the nifty reflection thing I like so much) when using that browser. Maybe no one will notice?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

rejections are not fun

As I continue to read through the submissions for this go-round, I am continually disappointed that I have to turn down so many poets. I try and always remember what it feels like to receive a rejection, and even if I cannot always make my replies personal, at least I can try and be kind.

A few days ago, after I'd finished reading for the day, I went to my rejections folder and counted up all the ones I'd received since 2000. The total was 89. I didn't count my acceptances because for me, on that day, I wanted to remember what it feels like to have someone say "no" to you, to your poem, to your work that you spent hours and hours working over. It's not an easy feeling to live with, but I have discovered that those early submission rejections don't hurt as much because my poetry has changed and matured over the past several years. Many of those old poems of mine I would reject for Autumn Sky Poetry if I was reading them, so in some small way, I can understand how difficult and tedious it must have been for those editors to read through and then send back my poems.

At any rate, I never forget the feeling. And really, I'm still getting rejections too. That doesn't ever really stop. And I've finally decided and more importantly, convinced myself, that the creation of the poem is more important than the publishing of it. It took me a few years to get there, but after reminding myself of that philosophy over and over it seems to have finally stuck. It occurred to me that I could probably live and be happy without getting published, but that I would be miserable if I couldn't continue writing and exploring this wonderful language.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

15 submissions read today

And that's about my limit. I get a bit saturated at times and don't want to infect new poems with old poem voices, so I must stop.

six wrongly filed submissions

I just discovered six submissions from May that were filed in the wrong place. My apologies. I usually read submissions from oldest to newest, but now things are a bit mixed up. I think it happened because gmail has been wonky now and again this past month.

I have also been holding onto a bunch of maybes whose poets haven't heard back from me yet.
If you're still waiting, I promise I'm getting to it asap. I usually try and publish by the 15th of the month, but it looks like things are going to be delayed this month, probably by a week. Ah well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So far I've read

ten submissions today. I'm hoping to do some more in-between real life.


Now I've read thirteen. I have a bunch of maybe's and a bunch of no's. I hate sending out rejections so I'm feeling sad now and will resume reading tomorrow.

Contributor's List

I've added a list of Autumn Sky Poetry contributors to this blog, but it is by no means comprehensive. Some poets don't have blogs or websites and some probably have them and I couldn't find them.

If you are a present or past contributor and would like to have your site added to the blogroll, feel free to post in the comments or send me an email: autumnskypoetryeditorATgmailDOTcom.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

what about bios?

No one has asked me this question, but I find myself thinking about it nonetheless: do I read the bios before I read the poems? The short and easy answer is no. I usually read the name of the person so I can get a sense if the poet is male or female because in 95% of the poems, the voice of the narrator is the same sex as the poet (though not always). After that, I read the poems. The bio just isn't that important to me. It's the poems that speak.

That said, I often receive submissions from a poet more than once. Sometimes from people I've published. When that happens, I can't help but have an idea about the poet because I've not only read the bio before, but very often I've read the poet's poems many times before, like I do all the poems that I accept. In those cases, I can't help but understand a bit more about the voice of the poet. I also have an understanding about the poet's personal history that sometimes influences my understanding of the poems sent to me.

However, even with this, I try not to let it affect my judgment. I've declined poems from poets who I've published before. I've also accepted poems from poets I've published before. I try to do my best to be fair in all those cases and I'm sure that I sometimes fail, but I make the effort each and every time. I don't reread the bios of people I've already published. In fact, I don't read the bios of new poets I'm about to publish until I lay out the pages and start looking for links to their work. In my opinion, the poems are the important thing, not the bio.

Monday, June 9, 2008

why only four poems per submission?

So, my submission guidelines state: Submit no more than four poems in the body of an email. Why so few? The answer: four poems is just enough for me to get a sense of the voice of the poet. Less than four leaves me wondering if there is some good poem that the poet didn't include in the submission, and more than four poems is too many to read when I'm faced with 80 submissions and one week to read them all.

So what do I do when I get less than four? Sometimes I ask the poet to send me more, but that only happens if the two or three poems I've received have some sort of spark or gusto to merit the effort. If I receive more than four poems, I read only the first four. Seriously. If the same poet sends me more than four poems again in another submission, I reject the submission outright without reading the poems.

It was really difficult for me to come to that decision, but after more than a year of reading submissions I had to sacrifice something in order to make the time spent on this endeavor worth it for me. Too much time taken makes me feel like this journal is a huge chore and sucks the wonder right out of the poems I'm reading. This is not fair to the poems or the poets who submit. I want to give each and every poem a chance and I can't do that if I'm pissed off.

It's extremely frustrating when the submission guidelines are ignored. To me, it's a sign that the poet not bother to read my journal. It's just plain disrespectful. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Reading submissions

I've finally got started reading the unprecedented number of submissions I've received this time. I'm a bit overwhelmed. I already got a late start because I have had an unprecedented number of health problems and have had to spend most of the last eight weeks resting rather than reading. Oddly, this has pared down my editorial process in a way that I didn't expect. Since I'm so short on time, I've found that while reading, if a poem does not grab me within the first three to five lines, it's probably not going to grab me later on in the poem.

So, for all those who are wondering how does an editor choose the poems? This is a biggie: the beginning of your poem is extremely important. If your title is boring, or you use a lot of cliches right off the bat, or the alliteration is excessive on line two, I'm not going to read any further. The imagery has to be original. None of this: "her eyes were as lovely as sapphires" or this: "his trousers were as brown as mud."

I want to see something new. Thrill me!