Go to Rufous City Review and discover an anti-urbane (and anti-mundane) urbanism that breaks apart city life and turns it into everything else, or vice versa, or whatever, and yet it’s all good--brilliant actually--no matter how you define it: something that Chief Editor Jessica Bixel grasps fully in her own definition of this superb journal:
ru•fous cit•y re•view \ˈrü-fəs ˈsi-tē ri-ˈvyü\ (n.) Where industry encounters raw earth in a heightened passion of expression; see also: the best of what can be read. Origin: [Latin] red; rusted memories; russet sparrows; random whimsy; really great writing.
You are going to find rusted memories, russet sparrows and a lot more within the unhallowed halls, warrens, alleyways and towers of this mind-blowing metropolis. The current issue features a line-up of toe-curling, scalp-tingling poets, both the prestigious and the nouveau.
There is someone named Alixia Doom who writes sensuously about swans; there is a “green chemical engineer” who croons in stanzas; there is one of my favorite poets, J.P. Dancing Bear, and there are several others, including Mary Mackey, a true great, whose lead-off poem, “The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number Four” will twist you into a happy pretzel.
When I submitted, Editor Bixel took the time to do something rare and, to my jaded eyes, even shocking: she said she was interested in one of my poems, and would reconsider it; but only after I reworked the middle.
Why is this rare and shocking and especially kind?
Well, when editors show interest without accepting a poem, it is risky for them. The poet can get an unjustified sense of expectation, and become annoying. The poet can get overly enthused, and pepper the editor with requests for suggestions. The poet can, in other words, proceed to take up more and more of the editor’s valuable time, becoming pushy, whiny, beggarly, sly, pathetic or just straight up rude.
Editor Bixel took a chance with me, and I am honored that she did. In my initial response, I thanked her, and emphasized that I had no expectation of acceptance -- and then I went to work, putting in over a dozen hours on the poem over a stretch of delirious days. I even did a sweat lodge.
Of course, I made sure not to bother the editor again until it was time for the resub.
Luckily for me, my extra work paid off with an acceptance; but if it hadn’t, I would have done what I have many times before: said THANK YOU for the extra attention and wandered away with the joyful thought that my work merited serious appraisal.
The moral of this story is that Editor Bixel is open to giving poets an extra bit of consideration. However, if you get a suggestion from her on a poem, or from any other editor, don’t become a pest.
Editor-in-Chief Bixel is joined by Associate Editor Brittany Balyeat and Artist (“the one with the crayons”) Alex Parker.
This journal boasts talent as wide as a city can sprawl -- or a rainforest can expand -- and I hope you get a chance to visit. Even better, send Editor Bixel an email of encouragement, commenting on your favorite piece.
You don’t need a game face, stylish clothes, or a bullet-proof vest to enter Rufous City, only the anticipation that your emotions will be engaged by some great minds.