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.


Marybeth said...

Hi Christine,

I certainly understand why you'd be peeved if poets sent more than 4 poems, but are you equally peeved when we send fewer? I only sent 3. I interpret "up to 4" as anything up to and including 4 is OK. Now I understand you really want exactly 4, and I understand the reasoning...


Marybeth said...

Oops! Sorry, I'm new to "blogger comments" and messed up my entry and can't edit.

Your guidelines actually read "no more than 4" poems, which I did assume meant sending anywhere between 1 and 4 poems was fine and more than 4 was clearly not following the guidelines.

Anyway...I look forward to the next issue, no matter which poems you choose...

Christine Klocek-Lim said...

Hi Marybeth,

You're completely right about my guidelines: sending between 1 and 4 poems is perfectly fine. I don't get peeved when poets send less than 4, I just find myself wishing for more. It's more of a passive: "oh I wish I had another one or two poems from this poet."

Thanks for reading!