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Editor Interview: Columba

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

A: Submit the poems you like the most, not what you think I might like the most.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A brief cover letter within the email (additionally attached to the poems is fine, too). Plus a brief bio with nothing personally expressive--- mentioning previous publications (if any exist---not necessary), where you're from and maybe what you do. Please attach the poems to the email, rather than putting them in the body of the email. The more poems, the better! (Maximum 4).

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

A: People sometimes email me to ask how the submission process works, which is fine. Just email your poems directly to me! I keep the guidelines short on the website so that it isn't heavy with text other than the poetry itself. There is no submission portal.

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

A: I'm not fussy either way, but it's a bit of a turn off when there is no cover letter, no introduction. A brief bio is helpful, but previous publications are not essential. My decision is based on your poems, not your other content.

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

A: I read most poems at least twice. But upon the first reading, I might reject a poem as soon as the first few lines. I usually push to at least half way. But days later, I will return to it for a thorough reading. The poems that I select, are usually the ones that keep me reading straight to the end upon the initial reading.

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

A: Instagram has certainly helped me reach new readers and poets. I know that Gaspereau Press (Nova Scotia) communicates with its poets exclusively by paper mail, which I think is marvelous. But I also think that electronic submissions keeps things moving at a sane pace. I can't imagine printing off a letter and attaching a stamp for every submission, especially for a small online quarterly like Columba. Email is great.

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

A: I may have edited a poem once. If I felt that a poem needed a lot of editing, I wouldn't accept it in the first place. I suppose there could be a wonderful poem, with one or two confusing spots, which could be addressed rather than rejected. Sometimes a writer is so immersed in creating the thing that they can no longer see the first for the tress.

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

A: No.