On Correspondence

Editors and publishers staffing small, independent presses or literary magazines…unwilling to render a decision in a timely manner—consider the ease in which you operate. Pressure? Stress? Your primary obligation is to the writer.

“Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. Because we’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.”

Hard to believe my work is being taken seriously one year out and counting. I’m getting to be too old for the chase.

I arrive unannounced, unsolicited. So what? No book published, no affiliation with some other little magazine, no player. The key word is submission. “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Why is the relationship so one-sided? Why such disregard for writers—for contributors? And particularly when I have inquired (once, twice) about the status of my submission…

“Staffed by volunteers.” That’s no excuse.

After such delay, is it too much trouble to address me by name? Wake up. Don’t tell me about the anemic condition of poetry (and other fine arts) in this country. And don’t expect me to send more of my work.

Every submission, all of my correspondence, includes my name spelled out exactly the same. Zero tolerance for editors flexing and strutting, altering my name at will. One accused me of whining when I corrected him. Apparently he preferred me on my knees.

“I will refuse.”

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