If I thought my fellow editors would let me get away with it, I’d make this post exactly one sentence long:
I am looking for good writing.
Poetry is such a subjective art form. Too many times, I’ve heard people make the critical snap judgment, “This is not a poem.” But if you wrote a thing, and you’re telling me that thing is a poem, I’m going to take your word for it. Which means my readers and I will be giving fair consideration to all types of poetry: narrative, abstract, formal, prose poetry… You say you’re a poet? Good. The world needs more poets. Send me your stuff.
That said, I can give you some insight into what might make me say yes to a poem, which is essentially that I have some kind of experience while reading it. That it makes me feel something. That I can empathize with the speaker. That an image is so spot-on, it gets imprinted on my eyes. That a line is so sonically perfect, it gets stuck in my head. That reaching the end of the poem is like releasing a breath I didn’t know I was holding. That I want to share it with my writer friends, accompanied by some sort of eloquent comment like, “Ungh. This. All of this, yes.”
Unfortunately, I can’t give you a manual for that. Like I said, it’s subjective.
Some things that will make me quickly say no to a poem: clichés, gratuitous spelling errors, and unapologetic racism, sexism, bigotry, or hatred.
And we do have official Submission Guidelines for length and formatting and such that I strongly suggest you follow.
But really I’m just looking for good writing. And I want to thank you for trusting me with yours.