What Are Magazine Editors Looking For?

Some Helpful Tips When Submitting Poetry

Is the poem engaging, from the first stanza to the last?

Does the poet use fresh, innovative language?

Is there a natural rhythm and flow to the poem?

Is the language beautiful? Does it take my breath away?

Do the lines of the poem have their own sense of musicality?

Do I want to read this poem again?

Does the poet paint a picture with words effectively?

Does the poet create atmosphere?

Do certain lines of the poem jump off the page – do they linger?

Does the style, content, and theme of this poem match the flavor of my magazine? Will it fit in well with the other poems in this issue?

Do I like this poem? Does this poem speak to me?
(When it comes right down to it, this is a very subjective answer. You can have 10 well-written, well-constructed poems, but if it doesn’t speak to the editor, it won’t be chosen.)

*Always research a magazine/journal/publisher before submitting. Order a sample issue (if in print form only), or read selections from online issues, to see what kind of poetry they publish. This should always be your first tactic. Follow the submission guidelines very carefully. You could be eliminated based on protocol.

*You should be proud of every rejection letter you receive. Each one brings you closer to the YES letter! Your poetry will find a home. You just have to find the right one.

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Editor, Blue Heron Review

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