Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Editorial Highs and Lows and sequel poem publication

Before I post about underwhelming editorial malaise, this is the other side of the coin:

I vividly remember walking back from the mailbox with the acceptance letter informing me that a second poem of mine would be getting published, in a literary journal called The Peralta Press.

First- because it was in the dark days of a Pre-Submishmash world, when writers still looked forward to checking the mailbox because they might find something other than credit card bills.

Second- because it was on September 10th, 2001. So I only had hours to bask in the relief that my first publication was not just a fluke, before feeling guilty about gloating over anything so trivial.

A month or two later, I got a phone call from editor Jay Rubin to ask about the formatting of my title. I had part of the title in italics, but the journal layout has all titles in italics, so he wondered what I was trying to accomplish and if there was an alternate solution that I could endorse.

I told him that I was trying to use italicized letters like a dictionary entry. So we decided to just reverse it and not italicize the "part of speech."

 Dreams    pl.n.

mysterious river
lake and sea

you lie on an embankment
eyes closed, plunging
hand into stream
grasping at powerful currents
water flowing between your fingers
rushing toward the sea

you stand
empty handed
but notice your hand still wet
water dripping from each finger
as the Sun dries your arm

---from the Spring 2002 issue of The Peralta Press

Since I only had one other poem published at that point, I probably assumed that all editors approach their projects with that kind of care and precision. It wasn't until years later that I fully appreciated Jay Rubin's attention to detail.

I will post some of those examples next time.

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