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Editor Interview: THRUSH Poetry Journal

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

A: Resonant words with heart

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

A: American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, The Paris Review. Of course, there are dozens of journals publishing great poetry that we admire.

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

A: For the last decade, we’ve stayed true to our mission of inclusivity and diversity, publishing the best poems out there from both established and emerging writers. We’re especially excited when we select a poem from a new writer and have the opportunity to introduce their work to their world.

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

A: THRUSH Poetry Journal is solely focused on the poets and the poems we present in each issue. The poems we select and present in each edition are an eclectic and electric mix of the absolute best poems we receive. Wonderfully, the poems we select for each issue coexist together in a space where readers experience the best of the literary arts.

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

A: First, read several issues of THRUSH to see if your poems are a match for us. Then, read the guidelines carefully, and then follow them. We receive thousands of submissions a week, and have made it our mission to return a decision to all submitters within a few days. That’s why our guidelines are in place. And of course, be professional. We are an all-volunteer staff of poets who love poetry, and give our time to find and publish the best poems out there now.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: In a nutshell, three amazing poems that leave us wanting to read them again and again. When we receive a submission, of course, we appreciate a personalized cover letter to us and the poet’s bio. But more important than a “name” or a list of top-tier journal publications, are poems that understand craft, but that beat with a living heart, poems that stay with us after we’ve read them. We’re looking for poems that stun us, that make us feel something deeply and viscerally. We receive technically excellent poems that leave us feeling a little cold after reading. We want poems that work at higher levels of craft, but they need to also make a difference to the people who read them.

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

A: First, they don’t follow our guidelines, so they may not include a cover letter, or may send too many poems, or may not wait the appropriate length of time before submitting again. It’s also apparent to us when a poet hasn’t read the journal by the poems they submit to us. We always recommend reading several issues of THRUSH before submitting to us.

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

A: We’re poets reading other poet’s work, so we do read all cover letters with interest. We want cover letters to acknowledge the editors reading their submissions. We do ask for poets to include a bio, with previous publications, in their cover letters and we read those as well. The cover letter is an introduction to the poet and their poems, which of course, must speak for themselves.

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

A: We read every poem in its entirety. We can usually tell half way through the poem if the piece is one that we like or absolutely love, enough to publish it. We know what we’re looking for and we get back to writers fast with our decision.

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

A: We receive upwards of 1500 submissions a week, and decline many pieces that we like very much. We accept the poems we love, if they move us or stay with us after we’ve read them. Of course, the poems we accept must also be well-written and crafted.

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

A: We read submissions to THRUSH several times a day, in an effort to not only respond quickly and remove the long waiting period, but also because we want to release the work we’re not going to publish. We want the poet to have the opportunity to submit their poems elsewhere. As poets ourselves, we appreciate fast turnaround times.

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

A: Most journals now do accept electronic submissions. For the last decade, THRUSH has accepted submissions via email, with no reading fee ever. We’ve also never closed the journal to submissions once in the 10 years we’ve been publishing. We pride ourselves on being fully accessible to the poets who submit to us, should they have a question or a change in their bio. That’s another reason why we get back to all submitters within two to three days, because we don’t believe a writer should have to wait weeks, months or even years for a decision on their work.

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

A: On a rare occasion will make a suggestion on a word or line change. Mostly poems are accepted as they are written.

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

A: Yes! We nominate for Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Pushcart Prize, Orison Anthology and others as we may become aware of.