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Editor Interview: Whiptail: Journal of the Single-line Poem

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

A: One-line poetry and art.

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

A: Akitsu Quarterly, ant ant ant ant ant, Frogpond, hedgerow, Kingfisher, Modern Haiku, NOON: journal for the short poem, and Sonic Boom.

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

A: Too numerous to name. We relish diversity. The editors have backgrounds in free verse poetry, flash fiction, and memoir, as well as Japanese short-form poetry in English, such as haiku, tanka, and linked forms like haibun, haiga, rengay, and split sequences. Additionally, they have backgrounds in visual arts including collage, vispo, painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, and weaving.

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

A: We only publish single-line poems that are NOT sentences. Most of the poems we publish are one-line haiku and one-line tanka, though we are also open to one-line other one-line micropoems. We love seeing the breadth of what is possible with the single-line form. This includes concrete works, poems paired with art, and linked sequences that utilize one-line poetry.

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

A: Read previous issues (available online). We love poems that dig deep and are expansive of the form as well as poems that exhibit a subtle brilliance in their simplicity. Get out of your own way—experiment, have fun, play! Send us the poems that only you can write.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission is sent per the instructions in the guidelines and submission form. It does not have a long cover letter full of publications credits and pleas for us to nominate them for awards. What matters to us are the poems.

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

A: They send poems longer than one line or they send sentences. Sometimes an issue has a theme (which we interpret liberally) and they send work unrelated to that theme.

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

A: Cover letters for manners are appreciated but need not be more than a “Thank you!” We do not care where you have or have not been published.

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

A: All of it by multiple editors, numerous times.

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

A: Shortlisted pieces are reviewed together for sequencing purposes. From there, pieces are reviewed over and over and are weeded out until the issue is full.

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

A: During the submission window, we take turns checking in and leaving notes in our spreadsheet. We have a color-coded system we use to communicate about moving poems up the ranks, so to speak.

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

A: We don’t have opinions on what other people do, but we couldn’t function without technology. We couldn’t operate without it. Without Google Suite and social media, we wouldn’t exist.

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

A: We may make suggestions if we think a small edit will improve a piece without changing the intent of the poem. In this case, we email the poet to ask for their thoughts on the suggested edit, but it is their poem, and therefore their call as to whether they want their poem to appear that way or not. We do not believe in co-authoring poems with poets by over-editing.

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

A: We nominate for The Haiku Foundation's Touchstone Award for Individual Poem, Best of the Net, The Pushcart Prize, Red Moon Anthology, and The Haiku Reader. We announce our nominations on our website and on social media.