Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Acceptance In Nibble Poetry Mag .... Kinda

Jeff Fleming of Nibble Poetry Magazine has published me! ... Well, sort of. When I clicked on the mag for a gander, a sudden frisson hit me behind the eyes, the one I get when I unexpectedly encounter my name in print.

Yes, there was my name, and above it the cover letter I had sent to Editor Fleming, along with five hopeful poems, which were nowhere to be seen. But he had published my cover letter!


And guess what? I’m happy about it. It might not be my poetry, but, hey, it’s my writing, right?

Aside from the substantial needs of my artsy ego, there is another reason I was happy to see my cover letter in print: I think it instructive of how to be respectful of editors. Let me explain, but first, I am proud to present my much honored and PUBLISHED cover letter:


Dear Editor Fleming,

What's this about three novels sitting in a box in your garage? I'm
impressed (or is that aghast?)

The other thing I just have to mention is that poignant two dollar bill someone sent you on the verge of being evicted. Serious? That nearly made me cry.

My brief bio is below, and the vagrant poems showing up at your door.

Editors are the lifeblood of the poetry world, and you seem full of vigor, panache and wit, a great presence! Thank you truly for considering my work.

I bow down to you.

Most Sincerely,

[Owl Who Laughs]


Editors do an awful lot of demanding work behind the scenes. We submitters don’t see their concentration and effort, let alone acknowledge it, nearly enough. In my cover letters, I take the time to show that I’ve done some reading of the journal. I point out some things about the editor’s style that I like, and also a few topics that intrigue me.

Yes, it is true, 99.99% of the time the editors are far more important to the poetry community than the poet submitting. And yet cover letters are often completely insensitive to this.

Never lie in your cover letter, of course. Take the time to read your target journal and give deserved kudos. If you can’t find anything to compliment, well, this isn’t the journal for you, is it?

If you take the time to read, you might realize you’ve found a gem. I think this is true in the case of Nibble. Editor Fleming has incorporated elements of traditional journal and blog feed into his savvy site. He’s published some of the great people’s poets of our day, like A.D. Winans. The format of Nibble feels almost alive, a parade of fresh poems and surprises--like my cover letter suddenly showing up.

Check it out!

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