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Editor Interview: Songs of Eretz Poetry Review

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Good poetry of good poets

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Poetry Magazine, Boulevard, Poetry Pacific

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: My top ten (in no particular order): J. R. R. Tolkien, William Stafford, William Shakespeare, William Carlos Williams, Sylvia Plath, C. S. Lewis, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, Neil Gaiman, John Milton.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: What makes Songs of Eretz unique is that we feature the poet as much as the poetry. Each poem is thoughtfully paired with a graphic and accompanied by the poet's bio, the poet's notes, and sometimes an editor's note. In Songs of Eretz, every poet is a "featured" poet. In addition, submissions, whether accepted or rejected, receive personal responses from the editor--a courtesy that is almost unheard of these days.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read our daily poetry offerings for a while in order to get a feel for what we like. Part of the mission of Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is to publish the good poetry of up-and-coming poets. We consider poetry of any genre and length and will publish it if it is good. If your work is not up to our standards, we will let you know why. If we think you have potential, we will ask you to consider our comments and try us again (if we do not encourage you thus, then Songs of Eretz is probably not for you).

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Poems we like are typically well-written, metaphorical, thought-provoking, and contain no mistakes in punctuation and grammar (poetic license excepted). If you feel your poem requires an explanation, revise it until it doesn't. Avoid preaching, cliche, and gratuitous X or R-rated content. Prose poems are a hard sell. The rare prose poem we publish will contain many poetic elements. If you can easily rearrange your verses into short story sentences, market the piece elsewhere as a short story or as flash fiction.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Failure to comply with our simple submission guidelines

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Include a cover letter in the body of each email submission with following information: 1. If yours is a simultaneous submission or not. 2. How you discovered Songs of Eretz. 3. Your contact information including at least your city and state, or country if outside the US. 4. MOST IMPORTANT: Please do not include anything else such as your bio or credits--nothing annoys us more.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: Every poem is read in its entirety by the Editor--this will be obvious to all that submit, as every submission, whether accepted or rejected, receives a personal response by the Editor.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: None. The Editor personally reads and evaluates every submission. The only exceptions to this are contest submissions--the finalists selected by the Editor are read by the Guest Judge who then picks the contest winner.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: 1. Were the submission guidelines followed to the letter? 2. Structure review: line count, stanza count, genre, topic, and form. 3. Execution of rhythm, rhyme, other poetic elements, poetic conceit. 4. Understanding: Do I "get" the poem? If I do not, chances are most of my readers also will not. 5. Beauty: Most importantly, am I moved (am I laughing, crying, angry, horrified, disgusted, transported &c)? Is it memorable? Is it thought-provoking? 6. Originality: Is it original, new, or a unique take on an old theme?

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: I am obviously biased as Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is (for now) exclusively presented in an e-zine format. However, the following advantages of the format are worthy of note: low (or no) overhead for publishing, free and instant submission process, free and unlimited archivability, easy search ability, easy revise ability, easy and low or no cost ability to add graphics, free and theoretically world-wide distribution, ability to print pieces of any length for free. However, there is still nothing quite like holding and reading a print poetry magazine or collection.