Sunday, June 3, 2012

Acceptance: Rufous City Review

RCR is a journal I greatly admire. Non-frilly, high impact poems that walk your mind along a fine edge of pith and momentum. This kind of poetry--concise yet so well wrought you don’t notice the concision--fails if you fall off the taut high wire constructed by the wordsmith. You must get exhilarated, scared, enthused and saddened without ever plunging off into disappointment.

This is the RCR way, and sure enough Lead Editor Jennifer Bixel seems to painstakingly choose what poems get accepted and thereby earn a building permit within the darkish, ensorcelling City. Although she took my piece “Violent Side” for the next issue, I was informed in the personalized letter that she wasn’t entirely pleased. The stanzas were adjective heavy. Line breaks weren’t stellar. Fortunately the ending was a good surprise, which tipped the balance my way. I danced for joy when I read this; and yet the hairs on my arms were quivering, as if I had almost, yet not quite, met instant doom on the grill of a speeding getaway sedan, a black Cadillac El Dorado. Or was it a 2 million dollar Lamborghini? You never know what you'll find in RCR.

Let's get philosophical. Editors have to develop their own ‘voice of appraisal.’ Imagine you are an editor. Do you accept only those poems that please you across a spectrum of literary and personal standards? Or do you accept poems that, in some ways, do not completely zing the strings of your aesthetic? I don’t think there is a right answer to these questions, or to the similar questions that can be derived from these two basic styles.

However, as I said in my response to Ms. Bixel, I think editors (and poets) who take chances and go out of their comfort zone are effectively gaining opportunities, whether or not most of those opportunities pan out. Of course, editors who see flaws yet still seriously consider such poems are putting extra cerebral flex into the process, which is noble. It is also generous, I think, and indicates a dynamic and daring ‘voice of appraisal.’

Anyhoo, I am most thrilled and grateful to be included in RCR again. I'm experiencing a bitter-mostly-sweet sense of deja vu, because, as on this occasion, I barely made it in the first time.

I absolutely encourage all pursuers of good poetry to visit. You will find fantastic literary journeys in RCR, succinct ones that somehow take you across light years, and which also, unbelievably, keep you on the high wire of wow.


PS: Did I mention that the art and photography, especially on the cover, is always great?

PPS: For my previous entry on RCR, go here:

Owl glides labyrinthian boulevards

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