Monday, November 25, 2013

Acceptance: Crack the Spine

Kerri Farrell Foley is unique among the hundreds of editors I have encountered in over ten years of sending out submissions. She runs a weekly--that’s right, weekly--zine called Crack the Spine. Even more astounding, it is continuous in offering high quality work.

The next issue is 91, which will include my poems “Guitarist” and “Calling in Sick.” I appeared in a previous issue of CTS but that was, I dunno, issue 45 or something. It seems like so long ago...

How does Foley produce a new topnotch issue every week? Personally, I think it is magic. A beyond-human feat. If I dared to speculate ... for one thing, the issues are small, each with a few poems and short stories. Indeed--

Issue 90 had one poem. Issue 89 had four poems. Issue 88 had two poems. Issue 87 had four poems. That’s eleven poems in a month (and even less in terms of contributors, due to multiple pieces being accepted, in some cases). In other words, the quantity pretty well approximates the size of a quarterly journal.

However, the weekly pace must require a lot more time-management, plus effort in terms of formatting/production. The sleek phenomenon of desktop publishing surely helps Foley with this. In fact, she seems masterful at using technology at its full zing.

Hold onto your hat: Foley is also, somehow, conducting interviews with writers in-between the issues. Her indefatigable variety, keenness, organization, and joie de vivre make her one of the most remarkable, dedicated, passionate impresarios on the net, or anywhere, for that matter.

Wait a minute, hold onto your second hat: Foley also produces quarterly anthologies! That’s right. In the time that it takes most editors to start putting together a single issue (and many take much longer), Foley is picking and choosing ‘best of’ work from ten issues. And packaging and marketing it.


She also has a neat gimmick. A contributor’s chance of getting in an anthology increases if there are positive comments on the contributor’s work. Naturally, contributors cajole, importune and strong-arm their friends (and fellow grad students, I suspect, in some cases). In this way, Foley ends up with a good number of comments in her issues. Sometimes there are no comments, which is pretty common in most all journals; but other times, CTS manages to ramp up the activity in the peanut gallery.

The wording Foley uses to entice contributors is brilliant, actually:

“Remember that your work is now eligible for inclusion in one of our print publications, and we may take feedback left on our website or social media outlets into consideration when reviewing your work for print publication in the future.”

Foley is really smart, really savvy, and yet most exciting of all, she has the gift of discernment when it comes to stocking her literary shelves. The result is a prolific magazine that is also redoubtable, helmed by someone who is truly extraordinary, truly original.



  1. Obsession is obsession. You've reduced me to babbled tautology.

    Thanks, Gwil, and have a great season.