No matter what the circumstances, you do you. Almost all Lit mags tell you to read past issues to get a feel for what they want. That’s mostly true. There’s a pattern there, sometimes subconscious, of what the editors are attracted to in a poem. We all have our likes and dislikes, our biases, and prejudices. We try to be aware of our faults and put our predispositions aside. It doesn’t always work. We’re human, with all the built-in distractions that come with that.
As a poet, I can overthink my way into submission stasis. Or I act like submissions are Tarot. I lay the poems out and several pop to the surface as exactly right for that magazine. The spirits have spoken. Truth is, I never know for sure what’s going to catch an editor’s eye.
We Know What We Know
As an editor, I know what I want when I see it. A poem leaps off the page and I have to have it. It may be something we’ve not seen or published before. It may be something we’ve seen before but it’s done in a fresh way. Or the images are just too lovely to look away from.
There’s also the wild and quirky, the fun and poignant. What editors like comes in different forms. As the title says, You Do You. Don’t try to get into our heads (it can be a dark and twisty place, with bonus sparkly unicorns) just send us the poems you love like a child, the ones that need to see the light of day, to be shared with the world. Poems are so individual and cover so many areas of taste that every poet has a potential home for their work.
Editors Can Be Picky
But Editors can be sure about what they don’t like, and Gyroscope Review definitely has preferences. We don’t want any -ist poems. Racist, sexist, etc. Homophobic, crass, or channeling Hannibal Lecter poems are not for us. There are plenty of literary magazines out there that will publish what we won’t. You write what you need to write. Sometimes you can’t help what you need to write. We understand that. A poem can be a hand grenade or a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. We love both. So juggle those exploding lemons and send them out into the world.