THE SEVEN DEADLY GUIDELINES
or
The Invasion of The Poetry Editors



1.
We can only consider submissions during our reading period--July 1st to July 15th. Poems received on June 30th or July 16th--or any of our other (hallelujah!) 348 non-poetry-reading days will be tossed into our dumpster unread. (Editors have lives to live, places to go, pot to smoke; and no one can expect us to read scores of crappy poems 365 days a year!)


2.
We do NOT want to see meter or rhyme. Rhyme because its huge popularity via rap, rock, slam, cowboy poetry, light verse, greeting cards, and advertising (ugh to all that shit!) might attract the great unwashed, whereas our goal is to provide 'caviar to the general' (and we don't mean Petraeus). Meter because it asks us to approach poetry as a quasi-musical composition, whereas we all know that it is merely a sub-species of prose where the 'poet' imposes an arbitrary line and stanza structure to make boring personal anecdotes look like stuff remembered from Norton Anthologies back in Freshman Comp.


2A.
We ONLY want to see meter and rhyme. If you are writing antiquarian verse on stock themes--'Love,' 'Time,' 'Death'--using predictable end-rhyme and dee-dumb-dee-dumb pentameter that make your 'work' a footnote to stuff written by dead white guys centuries ago--send it along. (All we ask is that you know the difference between an anapest and an amphibrach!)


3.
We adore ghazals, pantoums and other faddish imports--anything without a track record in English (faux form always raises the non-Emily-Dickinson-hair on the back of our non-poetic-necks). We abhor native forms that have produced 'The Best Loved Poems of the American People' (please, no couplets, quatrains or--heaven forfend!--sonnets). Poetry being 'what gets lost in translation,' we love to see poets like Rumi, Rilke, Neruda, Hikmet disappear in a puff of prose!


4.
Before submitting, be sure to check our web site for the upcoming THEME. Our Spring 2011 issue will be devoted to Poems about Spiders. Send us a poem about a flea or tiger, and we'll return it nine months later with a note scrawled across your cover letter that WE'RE ONLY READING POEMS ABOUT SPIDERS, STUPID! (If you don't have a poem with eight legs write one!) We wouldn't know a great poem if it bit us on the ass, but, damn it, we know a passable spider poem when we see one! Besides making our job easier by cutting down on submissions, telling poets what to write allows us to piss on our bete noir--ORIGINALITY. (The theme for our Fall issue will  be 'My Summer Vacation.')


5.
Short poems have a much better chance than long ones. To be candid, we are not so much publishing poems as accrediting poets. Send us a superb multi-pager--a 'Howl' or 'Prufrock' or 'Mauberly'--and you are, in effect, asking us to accredit one poet versus three or six or ten. (Who the hell do you think you are?--John Fuckin' Milton?) Publication is about something much more important than readership! That job at Cuckamonga Community College or reading at the Bonky-Bonky-Bo Book Shop may depend upon it! In order to accredit as many poets as possible we frown upon 'long' poems (which we define as any piece of chopped prose that exceeds 36 lines).


6.
We do require a short bio with your submission. Only a few contributors (and their Facebook sycophants) will actually read your poem--but all will want to compare their credits against yours. Did YOU win the Conkerman Prize? Spend a week at the Daughters of Robert Bly Writer's Retreat in Northern Idaho? How many of the 75,000-plus Pushcart Prize 'nominations' have you arranged for yourself over your career? (Lyn Lifshin has more than 200!)


7.
Speaking of prizes, we urge you to enter our poetry contest. You can't expect us to cover even a fraction of our production costs via our seventeen subscriptions (and no one is crazy enough to waste money advertising to a half dozen or so community college adjunct instructors who supplement their incomes by waiting tables at The Olive Garden). If you and 1000 other wannabes fork out a measly $25 you'll each have a chance to win $1000 and publication in our prestigious journal--and we will gross $25,000! That should allow us to pay the winner and grand prize judge; print 1000 copies of a 60-page 4-color paperback for distribution to the 999 losers; and still have $10,000 to remunerate our editorial staff for their tireless efforts on your behalf. Everybody wins! (except the losers--but, hey, y'all have much better odds with us than with Powerball!).


     David Alpaugh 2011