Archive for June, 2008

Speaking as an editor, for a change

June 5, 2008

When I started blogging several years ago, I promised myself I’d always tell the whole truth about anything I brought up, or I wouldn’t say anything.

Tonight I received a poetry submission by a very circuitous route. This delayed the reading and responding by a good long time– seven months. Now I had heard from this particular writer maybe a month ago via email and replied that I didn’t know where the submission was, but she had sent it to another editor, who was supposed to have responded. That person resigned recently, and I asked for the leftover work and papers etc. to be shipped to me. This writer was in that large shipment; her submission had never been opened till today.

I was really moved by two of the poems; in fact, I got that rare sensation of something like the world having a new dimension open up underneath of itself. Lyric depth. When a poem has somewhere to go to and it succeeds, that is exciting in a really deep way. The other one was even better though. I felt chills reading it. That is something that makes this whole editing job seem much more worthwhile– when you discover something great from someone you never heard of before.

I don’t want to reveal the name of this poet because I haven’t asked her about how she’d feel about being mentioned in a blog, and it may be that the poems have been taken by someone else already.

When I lived in Colorado for five years, five LONG years, I often looked at the mountains 50+ miles away and was reminded of the age of the earth and the mountains and the brevity of our hours here on earth. This was consoling. Maybe it was the idea that the earth abides (relatively) forever. We poor fools of nature fretting and strutting our seconds on stage, in spite of our transience, matter a great deal somehow, and we know this deep inside. In our own ways, the things we do, the poems we write, the breaths we take, resonate for more than just the instant in the wind that we can feel, here and now. We are a minuscule part of something far greater, and the mountains are somehow an analogue to this idea. Even the mountains are minuscule and passing wonders against the age of the earth. But this makes them even more beautiful to us.

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