We've received a lot of submissions recently and we've been asked a number of questions. It's time, I think, to clarify what we expect.
Firstly, and most importantly: guidelines. There are none. This is deliberate policy and not editorial vagueness. (Don't get me wrong. I am vague, just not about guidelines.) I once submitted to a magazine who told me exactly what size my font should be and, yes, I'm sure that there were very good reasons for this but it does strike me that there are better ways of spending your time. It's very simple: send us your best thing. Or things. We don't care how many of them there are. We don't care how long or short they are, either. This week we have a long poem by Maggie Sawkins. When I read it I couldn't bear to break it up, so we've published the whole thing. That feels very satisfying to me.
Next: subject matter. We're not bothered. Alright, that isn't true. We're fully paid up liberals here. There are a lot of things that we probably won't publish. (Most of it comes under the umbrella of "hate speech".) But we're not tied to a certain type of experience. You want to send a poem about a tree? That's fine by us. We want as broad a range as possible, from the angrily political to the musings of your average flâneur. We want all writers to speak in their own voice – we want, if we can, to amplify those voices – and we're aware that some people live quieter lives than others. We like poems about flowers. But we also like strong, angry stuff about how it feels to live on the margins. I think that "write about what you know" is often exactly what you don't need to do. But this question is worth considering: what do you write about best? We're happy to look at it, whatever it is.
It should go without saying that it needs to be the very best thing that you can do. And please expect to be edited. We accept all work that has been previously published and, if it's already in book form, then it will almost certainly be published as it is. But if it's been published in another magazine, then we will treat it as a new submission. We completely understand if you think your last edit was definitive. But if that's the case then it's probably best not to let us look at it. We won't publish anything until we've poked and prodded it to see if we think it can be improved. We're sorry. It's just what we do.
This week we have the usual smorgasbord for you. In no particular order: Staying Human; Pema Chödrön; Steve Shepherd; Maggie Sawkins; Kyla Houbolt; Louise Peterkin; Joseph Scapellato; Claire Hughes; Naima Rashid; Sarah Connor; Christopher Miller; Agnes Marton; Julie-ann Rowell; Tom Raymond; our Track of the Week; Elodie Rose Barnes; Ben Morgan; Lawrence Wilson; Noah Rasheta; and Brandon Robshaw. Please read them closely. We're proud to be publishing all of them. This isn't the only kind of thing we're looking for but it's exactly the kind of thing we like.