Editor Interview: Songs of Eretz Poetry Review

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

A: Emotive words & art

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

A: Missouri Review, Rattle, Poetry Magazine, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day feature, Boulevard

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

A: My top ten poets (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.
My favorite artists: J. Artemus Gordon, Frank Miller, Takeshi Obata, John James Audubon

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

A: What makes Songs of Eretz unique is that we feature the author as much as the author's work. Each poem and story is thoughtfully paired with an illustration/graphic and accompanied by the author's bio, the author's notes, and sometimes an editor's note. In Songs of Eretz, every author is a "featured" author. Include a small donation with your submission and you will receive a personal response from the editorial staff, whether your work is accepted or rejected--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 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 poetic work of up-and-coming authors. We consider poetic work of any genre and up to 833 words in 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 you make a small donation with your submission. 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 or reject your work without comment, then Songs of Eretz is probably not for you).

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Poetic works that 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 or story requires an explanation, revise it until it doesn't. Avoid preaching, cliche, and gratuitous X or R-rated content. The prose poems, narrative poems, and short poetic prose pieces that we publish contain many poetic elements, especially clever metaphor, and gorgeous imagery. If you can easily rearrange your verses into short story sentences, market the piece elsewhere as a standard short story or as flash fiction.

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

A: Failure to follow our simple submission guidelines is what submitters most often get wrong. A subset of this failure is submitting prose that is just plain flash fiction and not at all poetic in nature.

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

A: We care a great deal about cover letters and will summarily reject a submission that does not include one. Cover letters must include the 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. SEE OUR GUIDELINES FOR DETAILS.

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 a member of the editorial staff. The editorial staff will stop reading a prose piece as soon as it is determined that it is not poetic in nature.

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

A: A member of the editorial staff personally reads and evaluates every submission. If the submission makes our "first cut," it will be read again by a member of the editorial staff before a final decision is made.

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 searchability, 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.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: All submissions are proofread for obvious typos, grammatical errors, and punctuation/capitalization errors; however, we always ask for permission before editing even these. I personally believe that poetic inspiration comes from deep within the limbic system of the brain or through some kind of divine transcendence. Therefore, I am quite reluctant to change a poetic work of art much. If I see a way that would make a strong piece stronger, I will suggest it, but often I wind up leaving things as they were after communicating with the author.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: We nominate up to six pieces of poetic work per year for the Pushcart Prize. We nominate up to six poems and two short pieces of poetic prose per year for inclusion in the Best of the Net anthology.