Monday, August 15, 2005

some happy thoughts on a few good journals

On Friday, I got word that my poem, "Reaching into the Same Pockets," has been accepted to a journal called the Chaffin Journal, out of Eastern Kentucky University. I'm excited about this publication because of how classy my correspondence has been with Mr. Robert Witt, the Editor of the magazine. Back in March, I sent them some poems. Mr. Witt promptly sent them back to me with a detailed letter, (my name and address printed on the letter, nonetheless!!) telling me that I had missed the submission window and to please try again in June. He signed the letter and everything; I was very impressed by his attention to detail and the way he treated me like an actual human being, a luxury many journals are not afforded because of their extremely large submission pool (though I suppose it's possible that Chaffin has just as large a pool, but just assigns a priority to being respectful and gracious to their patrons. . .). So I resubmitted in June (response time was only like 8 weeks!) with the unusual expectation that my poems would actually be read and considered thoroughly before sent to the slush pile, or maybe, even, that someone would like one of them enough to publish, regardless of the fact that I'm still a "young poet". I'm honored to be in a classy publication like this-- it renews my sense of determination to start my own journal in the next several years (as soon as I finally settle into a locale) and gives me some ideas of what the priorities of that journal will be.
I'm not trying to knock other journals, either-I've worked on enough lit mags to know that time is as limited a resource as money- and what most journals lack in "personal attention" to their contributors (unless, of course, you're famous. . .) they make up for in content, layout, distribution, artwork, thoughtful reviews, website design, etc. It was just refreshing to be respected by an editor for a change, based on my POETRY instead of on my list of publications, lack of a published book manuscript, and (for now) lack of a PhD. It'll fuel my fire for a while.

I'm VERY impressed with the journal, the Canary, which I ordered more out of curiosity than anything. I mean, it's the best journal I've seen in a long time- a very ecclectic and lively assortment of voices. It's a lot more experimental than I expected, which I appreciate. In fact, I've yet to read a poem I don't appreciate on some level- and the great thing about it is that I often appreciate the poems on different levels- some intellectual, some because of narrative innovation, some because they relate experience adeptly, some because the language is just rocking. I love the Cole Swensen pieces, though that's not a surprise to most. She's one of my all-time faves (and one of the nicest poets ever to walk the earth, may I add. . .). I love the Dan Beachy-Quick poem, too- "Difference in Triplicate". The way it confuses narrative and perspective is astonishing, doubling/tripling of tree imagery. . .very cool.
I would have liked some sort of editorial preface to the journal, but I'm entering the series at #4, so I'm not sure what the history, mission statement, editorial goal of the journal is, unless there just isn't one, which I doubt. The journal is too intelligent for that.

In response to the comment that my poetry is "too intellectual," I've submitted to the Harvard Review. Mostly as a joke. I think it's funny anyway. I'm sure I'll get my rejection in record time :)


Tony said...

Yes. The Canary rocks.

We thank you very kindly for your support.

poetzie said...

It really is great. I've been carrying it around my condo with me, reading it every spare minute I have. I hope people are inspired to check it out.