I was pulled to submit to this journal by the quirky yet brilliant humor of the editors (who like to be referred to as Liz and Laura). These "editrices" (they prefer that appellation too) have excelled in creating a unique and lively emo zone. Reading the home page of The Toucan, you start to feel like you’re doing a mambo, maybe with a tropical drink in hand, a boisterous concoction that Toulouse-Lautrec spiked with a dram of absinthe. Whatever the dance, whatever that magical drink, The Toucan is orchestrating a marvelous show and you’re soon in the mood for a literary adventure of colorful proportions (which could shade anywhere from vibrant flamingo to brooding midnight).
I want to emphasize that the silver-tongued artistry of these editrices is absolutely stellar. I found myself clicking on links just to hear the next witty line, the next well-executed pirouette of phrase. There were even some triple gainers. In her Duotrope Interview, Editrice Liz responds to a prompt (“What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?”) as follows:
A: I slip into my velvet smoking jacket and adjust my turquoise beret. I type the 32-letter secret Vedic password into our gmail account and the retina scanner gives me access. While sipping my exquisitely carbonated Dr Pepper, I read new submissions for a general gut reaction, and reread older ones to ensure my opinion hasn't changed on them in the last 24 hours. As the moon rises and the silver hair lengthens on my forearms, I activate the vocal mindlink with co-editrice Laura .... and we have a pun-filled rendezvous often lasting until the wee hours of the morning. When we reach a decision I note it with my finely crafted Siberian pencil on a sheet of bone-white vellum, and within a day or so I will send out the personalized acceptance or rejections (or editing suggestions). I also might take care of other correspondence such as procuring cover art or answering submission questions during the day.
This is phenomenal verse, on par with review critics in, say, the New York Times.
Believe it or not, the acceptance letter they sent me (I have a suspicion that Liz does most of the writing--in fact, it’s stated somewhere on the website) was equally engaging. Not only that, it was generously long and a bit hypnotic. Most editors don’t take the time to astound and fascinate some bit-player contributor in their daily correspondence. In fact, in my eight years of submitting to journals, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything nearly like it--and it was wonderful.
Another kudo: the editrices revamped one of my poems and offered the modified version up for my consideration. Well, my experience with this sort of shenanigans has been dismal (with one exception, Eve Hanninen of The Centrifugal Eye). I was prepared to scoff within a second of opening the attachment.
But the changes were good! Actually, they perfected the poem. Something I never would have accomplished.
So, I do indeed want to bow down to these editricies. As a side note, they prefer Editrice to Editrix. For example, it’s Editrice Liz, not Editrix Liz. I think this is a wise and gleeful choice, which focuses on the respect and admiration these fine prodigies deserve, while not implying an imperious demeanor, except of course when some uppity bozo deserves it.
If you want to submit to this journal (and you should want to!):
(a) Read Liz’s interview at Duotrope.com under The Toucan
(b) Address your cover letter to “Editrices Liz and Laura”
(c) Be aware that this intrepid duo is burning a tremendous amount of mental octane for us readers. They edit and produce a quarterly zine (including a print version), plus deal with submissions, queries, and unavoidable neurotics, not to mention maintaining their jazzy-sassy vibe, which is sure to proceed on the road to fame, and morph into a charismatic classic.
(d) Realize that few of us are ever going to write as well as Liz or Laura, at least in terms of vivacious appeal and mesmeric flair. You’re dealing with people who must surely struggle not to pull out their hair when dealing with idiots. Lesson: Don’t be rude.
(e) Dip into the archives before submitting. On this, though, I have a warning: the site is a bit of a teaser when you attempt to find back issues. If you reach a state of confusion, CLICK ON THE “OLDER POSTS” LINK, a troublesomely small and innocuous blip at the bottom of the screen.
Hey, given the plucky chutzpah of these two fine talents, you shouldn’t mind a little extra work to reach The Toucan’s hidden stash of fruit, which includes a wide variety of poems and also short stories.