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With one month to go in our current reading period, we’ve received 229 submissions. Of those submissions, we’ve already declined or withdrawn 148. There are 63 pieces in process right this minute, and that will change by the time this post goes live.

Every reading period, we see some of the same trends, not all of them good trends. Since we want you to succeed as poets, want to get submissions that both make us honored to do this work and make you honored to be part of it, we thought it was time to talk about what makes us love our poets.

Submitting work is not always the fun part of being a writer. Okay, maybe it’s never the fun part unless the work is accepted. Acceptances are fun. Acceptances are what we all strive for.

When editors have the opportunity to say yes to a piece, they sometimes do a little dance.

When editors have to say no, for any reason, it makes them a little sad. Much of their sadness, and yours, dear submitters, could be prevented with simple attention to guidelines, details, and a respectful tone.

Is this an editor saying no? Is this a writer learning of rejection? Sometimes they look the same.

Let’s start with those guidelines. You’ve read it and heard it over and over: read the guidelines before submitting. It usually goes with the advice to read the publication to which you are submitting. This is really important. If you’ve read Gyroscope Review at all, you will notice that we publish contemporary poetry. We don’t publish work that sounds like it was around in Shelley’s time or harkens back to Beowulf. We seldom publish pieces that rhyme. We’re picky about pieces that have racist or sexist undertones, don’t care for gratuitous sex, aren’t fond of political rants even though those are tempting at this point in history. So, tone and form are something to study.

Our guidelines also point out some housekeeping items. Every reading period, we have someone who sends us a piece that we like, that we accept, and then we get an email that says, oops, someone else already accepted that piece. We take simultaneous submissions, but we want you to do your part. And what is your part? Tell us immediately if a piece you’ve sent us gets accepted elsewhere. We spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and Google-checking work. If we’ve done all that and made a decision only to learn you forgot to tell us that this piece is no longer available, that’s not respecting our time. Respect needs to go both ways.

While we are on the subject of knowing and sharing the status of your own poems, don’t resubmit something we’ve already rejected. Chances are pretty good we’ll remember the piece and wonder what you were thinking.

Another housekeeping item in our guidelines that someone ignores every reading period is when a submission contains more than one poem in a single document. We have our system set up for one poem in document = one submission. Why? Because when we vote on each poem, we need to be able to filter between accepted and declined. If everything is in one document, we can’t do that on a poem-by-poem basis. Therefore, multiple poems in one document means they will automatically be declined. And don’t think that you can submit one big document four times to make up for there being four poems in that document. One poem in one document = one submission. No exceptions.

Now, can we talk about appearance? We know you play with fonts sometimes. They can make writing something fun, shake things up a little but. We do it ourselves – on our own computers for our own amusement. When submitting, stick to a standard Times 12 pt font in basic black. A piece submitted in purple Comic Sans is distracting and takes us out of the piece. We sit there and wonder, why purple? Why Comic Sans? Just don’t.

And now a little bit about respecting our decisions for our own journal. Let’s say you send us a piece and we have to say no. Maybe our rejection has come to you on a bad day and you rapid-fire write a response telling us we don’t know good poetry from a hole in the ground. And then you hit “send.” When we open that email, are we likely to take pity on you and your submission? Nope. Are we likely to think, oh, that poet must be having a bad day and give you a pass on your rudeness? Nope. Are we likely to remember who you are? Oh yes. Yes indeed. And when we see your name in the slush pile in a future reading period we may not read your work with as much enthusiasm as someone else’s.

Now, if you had sent us a different email that asked us if we could give you more feedback on why your poem did not make the cut, would we be likely to answer? Yes, we would. There are hordes of reasons why pieces get rejected on any given day. Maybe we already have lots of pieces in the same vein. Maybe your piece, though wonderful, is better-suited to a different season. Maybe you’ve submitted four pieces, and we’ve already accepted three. Perhaps the subject matter just doesn’t fit with our vision for Gyroscope Review. And maybe the piece honestly could benefit from revision.

Consider doing revision work in a different space for a new perspective on things.

If you have a piece that gets rejected and you are going to revise it, give it enough time. A revision done within hours of a rejection is too fast. You know how a good stew slow cooks for hours so all the flavors can blend? Good poetry is like that: it needs simmering time for all the nuances and metaphors to come together into a delicious stew of lines that makes the reader want more. It cannot be rushed. If you try to shortcut revision, you will end up with an inferior piece lacking in essence.

And what about sending us something else if we decline your work? You are welcome to do that, but please take a moment or three to think about why we said no to your poems. Think about whether the next batch of work you want to send us looks just like what we’ve already rejected. Think about whether we are a good fit for you.

We should tell you that we have accepted a piece or two – or, well, 18, if you want exact numbers. We expect to at least triple that by the time we go to press; we expect just as many submissions during the last month as we’ve had up to now. So, you still have a shot if you like Gyroscope Review. Get writing. We’re waiting.

Still not sure? Ask us questions at gyroscopereview@gmail.com. We will answer.

Images courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Happy New Year! Happy Winter Issue!

It’s here! Our winter issue is now available – click on the link below the cover photo to read issue 17-1.

Issue 17-1 Cover
ISSUE 17-1 WINTER 2017

We are truly pleased to offer a diverse group of poetic voices and hope you find something that lodges itself in your head or your heart. We welcome poets new to us as well as old friends who never fail to make us think. Enjoy this first issue of 2017.

We are also pleased to announce that, along with our regular submissions which are now open until March 15, we have a themed call for submissions in honor of our April 2017 second anniversary issue:

“Planting Ourselves” –  In the moving, transient world, how do you plant yourself? Do you plant yourself in place or are you a tumbleweed who scatters bits over a wide area? Are your roots shallow or deep? Are you a perennial or an annual? Must you be carried to a new place via a power other than your own? Dig deeply. Unearth your own gems.

The themed call for submissions honors our usual guidelines regarding previous publication and number of submissions, among other things. Please read the complete guidelines before any submissions, themed or regular.

Thank you for being part of the Gyroscope Review community of readers, writers, and poetry-lovers. We wish you all the best in this new year.



We are so pleased to release our fall 2016 issue of Gyroscope Review: The Honor Issue. In this issue, we’ve created a special section of 11 poems dedicated to the idea of honor. And we’ve nestled it in among 33 modern poems that explore a wide variety of topics that affect us all. We’ve included work from inside and outside the United States, including work from Canada, England, Scotland, and New Zealand.

As always, the Joomag edition will give you an on-screen magazine experience if you are reading from your desktop or laptop. That edition is available here:

Gyroscope Review Issue 16-4 front cover

For reading on your mobile device, please use the pdf file, available here: ISSUE 16-4

For sharing with friends, this page will offer you both reading options: http://www.gyroscopereview.com/home/issues/

Thank you to all the wonderful poets who sent us work for this issue. We are delighted to give your work a home.



Gyroscope Review editors decided that a good way to honor contributors to our journal is with an occasional interview. Today, we bring you contributing poet Joshua Colwell. Read on.

Joshua Colwell
Joshua Colwell

GR: Thanks for agreeing to let us interview you for Gyroscope Review. We’re pleased that your work is included in our first issue. Can you please begin by telling us where you’re from, where you write, and why poetry?

JC: I’m from a small town in western Pennsylvania called Bessemer. I tend to write from my home computer. I used to write longhand when I was a teenager, but have found the convenience of technology too enticing.

I write poetry because I’ve always written poetry. It’s just kind of come naturally to me. When I was 13 I wrote my first poem about clouds on a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing poetry, along with fiction, ever since.

GR: Who, or what are your poetical influences?

JC: Robert Frost was my biggest influence when I first started. Since then I have gravitated to more contemporary poets such as Shaindel Beers and Robert Lee Brewer. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of William Carlos Williams and enjoying every second of it.

GR: How do you decide what ‘form’ a poem should take?

JC: I never really “decide” on what form a poem will take. It just happens organically as I write. If I have a lot to say on a subject, that poem might be longer than when I feel I don’t have as much to say.

GR: What is your writing process like?

JC: When it comes to poetry I simply sit down and write. I don’t outline. I write it all at once, and then revise later.

GR: Do you belong to any writer’s groups – face to face or online? If so, are they part of your process?

JC: I’ve taken group workshops in college and found them to be beneficial. It’s always good to have others read your work to see if there’s something you could be doing better. Normally, though, I don’t use writer’s groups.

GR: What do you look for in the poetry you like to read? Any favorite poets?

JC: Line length is big to me. I love poetry that’s short and concise. I’m a big fan of William Carlos Williams. I also love Shel Silverstein and Hilda Doolittle.

GR: What is the most important role for poets today?

JC: I’d say the most important role for poets is to be true to yourself and to tell your story.

GR: Which poets have you had the opportunity to hear read? Alternatively, what is the most recent book you’ve read?

JC: I’ve never had the opportunity to hear a poet read in person. The most recent book of poetry I’ve read is New and Selected Poems by Charles Simic.

GR: Any future plans for your work that you’d like to talk about?

JC: Right now I’m jumping between projects. I’m working on some short stories and will possibly delve into my first novel at the end of the summer.

GR: What other interests do you have beyond literature?

JC: I’m a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I’m a senior at Youngstown State University where I’m studying Professional and Technical Writing. If I’m not spending time writing I’m usually on Netflix or with my wonderful girlfriend.

GR: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Please let our readers know where they can find more information about you or your work.

JC:  http://thestoryshack.com/fantasy-science-fiction/joshua-a-colwell-walking-on-pins-and-needles/



Readers can also find some of my poems at Every Day Poets magazine.

GR: Thanks, again, Josh. It’s been a pleasure.

Joshua’s poem, Cold Oatmeal, appears on page 42 of the Spring 2015 issue of Gyroscope Review.