I had a bit of a chuckle at this Facebook post from poet and Editor of Prole magazine, Brett Evans:
Are there any fellow editors out there who find submissions without so much as a hello rude? No cover letter or bio I can forgive but no hello! I know the work should speak for itself but if you’re a writer then ‘Hello’, ‘Dear miserable editor’ is not going to stretch your talents
Submissions to And Other Poems are open at the moment so I’ve been jotting down some of the different ways that poets parcel their work when they send it out for consideration. Like Brett, I think it’s polite to include a short note saying ‘hello’ in your parcel even if you haven’t addressed it correctly.
It’s most likely that none of this applies to YOU because I’m sure that YOU are of the majority who are always concise, friendly, and polite when you send work out. Nevertheless, it is an eye-opener to be on the receiving end of submissions and comments following Brett’s Facebook post confirm that he’s not alone in his experience. Not including any kind of greeting, assuming editors are male, getting the editor’s name wrong, and not following submission guidelines are all common occurrences.
So, in a spirit of light-heartedness and good humour, I’ve cobbled together a poem made up of some of the things that people say and do when sending their work out. (I might have to add to it as the submission window at And Other Poems continues!)
Dear Editors – Here are my Poems!
for Brett Evans
Dear Editors, Dear Sirs,
Dear Jacqueline, Dear Jennifer,
Dear Susan (Is it OK if I call you Susan?
Sure — my name’s Brett
but at least you’ve called me something).
Here you go, Josephine,
some poems for your blog –
they were just lying around doing nothing
so you might as well have them
because I saw your plea for poems!
I’ve been writing for a year now
and I just can’t stop!
I haven’t heard back from you
since last week
so I’m sending you some more
because these are even better.
Did you get my email?
I’d appreciate an acknowledgment.
I’m not sure what you mean
by “one attachment”.
For ease of reading
I’ve sent my bio, covering letter
and six poems in separate files.
I write quirky, powerful poems.
This one is always a big hit
at the open mic.
No hello, no covering letter,
my poems speak for themselves.
But you’ll want to know
about every award
I’ve been shortlisted for.
You’ll want to know I own a cat
(could you include her picture?)
You’ll want to know
that in 1990 I met Carol Ann
and she loved this poem.
(maybe you could include her quote?)
Here I am reading this poem on YouTube.
Here’s a link to my blog –
get in touch if you’d like
any or all of my poems for your site.
I couldn’t decide which ones to send
so I’ve sent them all.
Maybe you could post them
at intervals during the year?
It would be great if you took all of these
because my book’s coming out next month.
Here are my poems.
I’ve left the name of your journal out
so I can use this email again.
I’m withdrawing the poems
I sent three days ago
because they’ve been taken
by another journal.