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Editor Interview: RockPaperPoem

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

A: Poems of imagery/humanity

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

A: Tahoma Literary Review, Rattle, Waxwing, Palette Poetry, Adroit Journal, Typishly, Lunch Ticket, Superstition Review, Pedestal, Frontier Poetry, Typehouse

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

A: Poets: W. S. Merwin, Pam Uschuk, Terrance Hayes, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, W. B. Yeats, Mary Oliver, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Danusha Lameris, Tracy K. Smith, Billy Collins, and others.

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

A: RockPaperPoem presents a uniquely blended mix of poetry. We're grounded in imagery, emotion and humanity, but we also showcase varied styles and themes to keep the journal fresh. We strive to be accessible, but not trite; edgy and bright, but not wildly experimental. For readers and contributors alike, we package our authors' work in an attractive no-fee zine and make it available to the world.

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

A: Read a few issues to get an idea of what we like, then send us your best work!

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: It's likely a free verse piece, devoid of typos and grammatical errors. But most importantly, it's a poem that draws the reader in quickly, clearly develops an emotional depth, is multi-layered in its language, and ends memorably. It invites the reader back a second time...or more!

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

A: Very little. We're pleased with the responses to our calls for submissions!

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

A: We love reading short cover letters from our contributors about who they are and where they're from. Cover letters and publishing credits (or lack of) do not influence our selection process, but it's a nice connection to those poets who submit their work.

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

A: We read it all, even if we initially feel the piece may not be right for us. We respect the work that goes into creating poetry, especially since all of us on the RockPaperPoem team are poets. All submissions are read and reviewed by at least three poetry editors.

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

A: The poetry editors confer several times by video conference, phone calls and/or email before we go to press. We may re-review some pieces several times before making a final decision. We want to ensure that we are fully satisfied with our selections and that our readers will admire and enjoy them.

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

A: It varies from day to day, but often includes a mix of activities: reading submissions; making selection decisions with the other poetry editors; communicating with RockPaperPoem team members; conferring with my Co-Managing Editor on future plans, technical issues and/or administrative processes; considering new outlets for "marketing" RockPaperPoem. I also spend time reviewing other journals to see what they're innovating, and which new ideas might be applicable to RockPaperPoem now or in the future.

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

A: For RockPaperPoem as an online journal, it's a given--we exist only through technological means. It's also vital for us to have a social media presence so we can continually update our readers and ultimately extend our reach in the larger poetry community.

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

A: Our editing is generally minimal, usually focused on punctuation and occasionally on word choice. Authors have the opportunity to approve or reject any of our suggested edits.

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

A: At present, we nominate for "Best of the Net", but we expect to be nominating for other awards in the near future.