Skip to Content

Editor Interview: Pinhole Poetry

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

A: Poetry & pinhole photos

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

A: Canthius
Arc Poetry
Frontier Poetry
Palette Poetry

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

A: I really enjoy Victoria Chang, Carl Phillips, Jane Hirschfield, Mark Strand, Sharon Olds, Kay Ryan, Dallas Hunt, Sue Goyette, Rachel Rose.

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

A: Pinhole Poetry wants to make the process of publication gentle and enjoyable for those who submit. We respond within 4-6 weeks, we don't charge anything for submissions, we pay an honorarium to contributors and we follow-up after publication with an author interview and social media spotlight. We also make an effort to share projects and publications of former contributors.

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

A: Please read back issues. All of our issues are free to read and this is the best way to know what we publish and what we are looking for in a submission.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Five poems that have each gone through several drafts. Revision is, in many ways, more important than creation.

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

A: It is obvious when submitters have taken a few minutes to scan a previous issue, and when they have decided just to send out a batch of poems to random journals. Aim for the bullseye; don't just toss a fistful of darts at the wall to see what, if anything, will stick.

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

A: We prefer to have a bio sent in with submission just to save the trouble of having to ask for it later if we like the submission, but whatever is in the bio is not important to the publication decision. We encourage emerging poets and are excited to make space at Pinhole Poetry for poets who have never published before. That being said, it is unlikely that you will be published with us if you haven't already dealt with some rejection in your writing life.

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

A: We read all of the submissions in their entirety, usually a few times, over the course of a couple of days to ensure that whatever we might have felt about the work on a first or second pass remains true in subsequent readings.

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

A: The only other criteria that may affect an acceptance is that we are a journal based in Canada and we like the magazine to reflect that. If we have space for 20 poems and we have 25 poems that we really liked, we will give priority to poets who live in Canada.

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

A: Pinhole Poetry is something that has to fit into the small spaces of free time I have during the week. I usually read submissions as they come in, mainly in the evening or on weekends. I tend to send acceptances on Fridays or on the weekend and rejections are sent Monday-Thursday. I made a vow early on never to send rejections on weekends or holidays. With email schedulers free and readily accessible, there's really no need to do that.

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

A: I think it's important to make submitting easy and cost-free for those who want to send Pinhole Poetry their work and the same should apply for any and all who want to read it. I also believe that social media is a great tool to further showcase the issue and individual contributors.

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

A: Typically, the work I accept is ready to be published. Still, there are sometimes words that might need to be changed or tweaked, perhaps a different title might be in order. I prefer these edits to happen during an email exchange between myself and the poet, rather than as an editorial directive. To avoid misunderstanding, I ask poets to include whether they are willing/unwilling to accept editorial suggestions in their cover letter. I also format the poem and send a proof to the poet about a month before publication so they can look it over, whether or not there has been any editing. This way, the poet has final say.

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

A: During our first year of publication, Pinhole Poetry did not nominate, mainly because I didn't feel I had enough experience yet to nominate for prizes based on anything other than my personal preference. Also, I wanted to focus on perfecting the layout and making myself comfortable with the routine for publication before I added another item to my check list. But now that I'm into the second year, I am very excited to begin nominating some Pinhole Poetry contributors for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes.