Back in the day, submitting to poetry magazines was a very different beast. We formed support groups for each other because of the processes that editors required.
We used to need spreadsheets; we used to keep lists. Every other year, I bought that expensive Poet's Market book. All that book consisted of was editor contact information. The desire for publication!
The publication process brings every poet down at some point. But how happy I was in the late 90s when magazines started accepting email submissions.
It seemed like such an obvious thing! Why must I pay for a pile of stamps, business envelopes, return envelopes and paper for cover letters?
On top of all of that, do poets really have the time and money to send query letters first? It seemed like each editor expected that I was put on this earth just to be some of the chaff from which they could cull the golden wheat that made up their very special magazine.
Of course, even into the 2000s, the most hoity-toity of magazines refused to come down to my level. They would scoff at the idea of email submissions for a while yet.
But now we have a generation of poets who have always been connected and paper submissions are requested by a smaller and smaller minority. Some magazines exist only in spaces like Tumblr.
One of the first decisions a friend and I made when we took over our lit mag, nowculture.com, was to make email submissions the primary way things got done.
It made submissions easier to track for us as editors and it does the same thing for poets.
All you need these days is an email address. Instead of using a spreadsheet to keep track of what poems were sent where and when, you can simply search your email sent box for keywords. It's a streamlined, cheaper and less maddening process.
I no longer need a support group.
Still, I must admit that some of my fellow editors like to do things the old fashioned way. And these are also good magazines with good editors. I begrudge them nothing! I may even, in fact, highlight some of them in a future column.
For now though, I'd like to focus on the ones that encourage email submissions. Here are a few of my favorites. Feel free to email me with your own favorites!
Francine Banwarth, Editor
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Chris Gordon, Editor
Susan Antolin, Editor
The Heron's Nest
Associate Editor: Scott Mason
Associate Editor: Ferris Gilli
Associate Editor: Paul MacNeil
Associate Editor: Fay Aoyagi
Associate Editor: Billie Wilson
Scott Metz, scott[@]roadrunnerjournal.net
Paul Pfleuger, Jr., mrflooger[@]yahoo.com