Clockwise Cat is a progressive webzine that publishes poetry, polemics/political satire, and reviews. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: For those familiar with Clockwise Cat, it should be noted you no longer accept fiction or visual art. Why the change?
AR: I still accept visual art, but I am not advertising that, because we will use the submitted pieces to accompany/adorn the published poetry, rather than featuring them on their own, as we previously did. So artists can still submit, actually.
As for fiction, while I do love fiction and I know readers do too, it just became too cumbersome for me to read through all the submitted pieces. I guess I should be happy that I am receiving so many submissions. But fiction can be a bit exhausting to read, and I felt I was not giving the time and attention the submitted fiction pieces deserved. I may have rejected some worthy submissions.
Also, I like the idea of a triangular theme: Poesie, Polemics, and Appraisals (reviews). It's unique in the webzine world, I think.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in poetry and why?
1) Stunningly evocative imagery
2) Unusual juxtapositions
3) Wild innovation
Not all the pieces I accept fit all three criteria, naturally, but I am very biased toward imagery, especially. I am very visual by nature, and I think a lot of people are. I like poetry that paints a vivid picture.
And I love when there are "jolting" juxtapositions in imagery and diction that make me smile or think.
As for innovation, there are some crazily inventive poets out there. I love for people to just let themselves go and audaciously experiment with language. Language is meant to be toyed with; it's how it thrives.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a poem is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
AR: If the poem doesn't "jump out" at me, I get bored. It needs to sparkle and pop! That sounds so cliched, but it's just so damn true. The problem is, one day a poem might seem dull to my ears and eyes, and another day it might sparkle and pop. So sometimes I give poems several chances before I reject them.
I am sure I have rejected many worthy poems, however.
Another reason might be space, although that is rarely the case.
A third reason, a very salient one, is that the STYLE is just not what we are looking for. Clockwise Cat rarely indulges in excessively formalist/academic poetry, though we have published a few of those. But those that we have published of that particular style have contained other elements within them that sort of redeem their "stuffiness."
I am not a huge fan of academic/institutionally-manufactured poetry at ALL. It stems from my experience in grad school.
SQF: Do you provide feedback on the poems you reject?
AR: Nope! I find that to be a rather haughty approach.
SQF: Will you publish a poem an author posted on a personal blog?
AR: Yes, of course.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
Q. Why are you so interested in publishing political polemics and satire?
A. Because we must always speak bold progressive truth to greedy regressive power.
Thank you, Alison. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 5/5--Six Questions for Allie Dresser, Fiction Editor, Gloom Cupboard