Tag: submissions

An Early Close to Our Fall Issue Reading Period

It’s true – our fall issue reading period was scheduled to run until September 15 OR until we had enough good work to fill the issue. Guess what? We got tons of good work and were able to fill our issue more quickly than we imagined. Breathing room for all is the happy result as we move into our production phase. We appreciate all the poets who submitted work to us and are stunned by the overwhelming response to our special crone-themed category that asked for work celebrating aspects of being older, wiser, braver, and the many other wonderful things about crones from women poets over 50. We were very interested in pieces that did not conform to stereotypes.

And that leads us to a few things we’d like to share about the pieces that were rejected this reading period.

We noticed that there were several submissions in our special category that focused only on the poet being an over-50 female. Being part of a demographic is not the same as writing to a theme. If a piece came into that special category without being connected to the theme, it got rejected even if the poet was in the demographic we sought. There were some good pieces in that group, pieces that we might have considered as general submissions for another issue if they had come to us that way. It saddened us that this was the case so often and we thought it would be good to point that out here. Poets, be very careful when you are asked to write to a theme that also asks for work from a specific demographic. You have to hit both marks to make it work.

And, among those that didn’t really stick to the theme, we noticed a lot of work about loss, abuse, failure, fear. We get a lot of poetry about loss in general, and we have gotten very picky about that. Writing about loss needs to have a bit of hope woven into it, or a bit of internal change that happens as a result of loss – something that the reader can grab onto. Pieces that wallow in loss become difficult for anyone to read all the way to the end. If you are a poet who writes about loss, ask yourself what you hope the piece will eventually do for you and for your readers. Leave some breathing room, some glimmer of light that provides a way out.

Another thing we noticed was that there were many pieces that did, indeed, celebrate aspects of aging but they missed the mark as far as steering clear of stereotypes. Aging is a complicated process, different for everyone even as women over 50 share many aspects. When it came to celebrating memories, several pieces focused on the late Sixties, a time period that has been done almost to death. We kept asking ourselves, as we read the work, what might be celebrated here that is unique? Or that is universal, but the narrator’s take on it is a little different? What is being presented as joyful but is a cliché? What memories connect to this moment in a positive, joyful, meaningful way? Do grandmothers, for example, have to be defined in relation to their grandkids, or can they take the idea of grandmother and breathe new life into it? What is funny about this whole aging thing? What is dignified about it? What has emboldened women of a mature age? What older woman believes it when someone tells her she has become irrelevant? You get the idea.

Finally, we noticed that we received submissions in both categories that were out of season. We pay a lot of attention to the seasonal feel of the pieces we accept and, if a piece sent to us for the fall issue feels like summer or spring, we must – and do – reject it. We’ve consistently published work that fits the season in which the issue appears and don’t plan on changing that about our journal.

There are other reasons, of course, for rejecting some of the poems that come to us, and most of those have to do with the work not fitting the aesthetics of Gyroscope Review. We want you to know that we read everything. We considered everything. We looked for gems. Each poem that comes to us is handled with care and respect.

We hope that this post helps future poets figure out whether their work fits here, and encourages more attention to the details in our guidelines, seasonality, special themes, and work that has previously appeared in our pages. Part of our job as editors is encouragement and education around submissions from poets everywhere. We hope we’ve done well by you.

Our next reading period opens on October 1, 2018. We are looking for pieces for our Winter 2019 issue, so if you write poems with a seasonal bent, think of winter after the holiday season. Remind yourself what we are looking for by reading our guidelines HERE.

 

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Wrap This Up, Too: Looking Back at 2017

We are now at the end of our first year of offering a print edition of Gyroscope Review and we thought, hey, let’s look at those numbers hanging out in our Submittable account. Just how many submissions did we get in 2017?

The answer: 1,854 submissions from 559 poets arrived on our virtual doorstep during the 2017 calendar year. No wonder our eyeballs need a holiday break. If we look at the percentage of what we accepted, an important bit of information for those of you considering where to send your work, our acceptance rate hovers slightly over 10%.

What about what we published during 2017? Those of you who ordered a copy of Wrap This Up: The 2017 Issues may already know the answer. We published 196 poems from 116 poets, 61 of whom were women. Poets published in our pages came mostly from the United States, but also represented Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK. One more fun little fact: our youngest published poet, as far as we know, was an 18-year-old high school senior. We have no idea who our oldest poet was; we thought it might be a tad rude to ask. We don’t collect personal statistics  when poets send us work, so these results are gleaned from bios and mailing addresses in our submissions system.

What’s on tap for 2018? We are still working that out. Here’s what we do know: we will continue to offer the best possible work in digital and print formats. We will add a new staff member in January. We will encourage the sharing of poetry far and wide as a reflection of and refuge from this world of ours. And we will keep the dialogue going with everyone who works with us to keep our poetry community strong and welcoming.

Our next issue will be available January 15, 2018. Submissions for the Spring 2018 issue will also open the same day. As always, please review our guidelines before submitting.

Happy New Year from Gyroscope Review.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR SUBMISSION GETS THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES

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.

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The End of Another Reading Period

We hope everyone is getting into holiday mode! At Gyroscope Review, we are in get-the-lead-out mode as we go through the poems we’ve accepted for our January issue, organize files, create covers, write editorials, and, if we’re lucky, eat fudge.

This just-completed reading period, which technically ends at midnight tonight, had over 350 poems submitted and slightly over 50 accepted. Thus, our January issue is going to be packed with good stuff, which is just what we hope our readers want for that chilly time of year around here.

And now a special holiday poem/recipe, because a little silly does us all good sometimes.

MAKING FUDGE

(with apologies to James Pierpont, who wrote Jingle Bells)

Standing in the kitchen
wooden spoon in hand,
the roll of foil glistens
as it lines the pan.
On the stove I mingle
sugar, milk, and butter,
make it boil and jingle.
So much stirring, I mutter.

Oh, making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!
Making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!

After five whole minutes
I have to add some stuff:
chocolate and vanilla – shoot!
Forgot the marshmallow fluff!
Take it off the burner,
stir till things all blend.
The perfect dish for winter,
a great gift for my friends.

Oh, making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!
Making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!

Outside the ground is white.
Inside I lick a spoon,
warm fudge a tasty sight
in this lovely cooking room.
I’ll wait until it sets
then cut it up for all
their appetites to whet
at the Yuletide ball!

Oh, making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!
Making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!

(based on a real recipe from the back of the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar)

(No, we would not accept this for our own journal, but feel free to sing it aloud.)

Happy Holidays to all and to all a big

thank you for your submissions this reading period.

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