SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a poem and why?
- Fresh or vivid imagery—I want the poem to paint a picture in my head. If you’re writing about being stalked by a rabid troll or the time you met a fairy, I want to believe it happened.
- A strong sense of emotion—We are a fantasy/horror/sci-fi e-zine, so obviously the majority of the poetry will not be from real life experience; but I want to be drawn into the writer’s world and feel it happening as if it were real. I want it to make me catch my breath and be compelled to read it again.
- Consistency with the rhythm or tempo of the poem—Rhyming is not necessary but following a consistent rhythm makes for a better poem. And sometimes it will start off this way but by the end of the poem it is completely on another track.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a poem is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?
- It doesn’t fall into the genre of Liquid Imagination
- Forced rhymes. If you do choose to use rhymes, make sure they don’t feel forced. It makes it seem like the writer was desperate to keep the rhyme going.
- No structure whatsoever. A good poem will usually have some kind of structure or form to it. For example, think about stanzas or line breaks. Decide if you will use punctuation; and if you do, then be consistent throughout the poem.
SQF: What other mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a poem?
- Clichés. Some things have just been played out, so I like a turn or twist on the usual. Make it unique.
- If it’s too long. Sometimes you can say more with less.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a poem?
CD: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I think that I am still uncomfortable with this because I look at myself and say who the heck am I to tell someone what to do with their poem. I may offer a couple of suggestions on how I think it can be improved; but I am passionate about poetry, and I have this belief that a poem comes from your inner core or your guts. It is raw emotion sometimes; and if that is what someone has to say, then it is beautiful in its own way. . . just maybe not for Liquid Imagination. :)
SQF: Approximately what percentage of the poems submitted do you accept?
CD: That is hard to say because it would depend on how many submissions I received for that issue. I can say that I am limited in the number of poets and the number of poems for each issue that I can use. I think the last one has 10 poets on there. This is a big reason many are not accepted. I have to choose what I think would be best for that issue. And I really try and give new or emerging poets a shot. I know what it feels like to be accepted for the first time.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
CD: Hmmmmm, good question. . .. Well how about :
When someone makes these mistakes does it turn you off to that poet so they will have a hard time being accepted later?
Absolutely not! I believe the only way to write good poetry is to write bad poetry first. All these mistakes I mentioned I have made plenty of. Even after the release of my book Raven’s Brew, I would look back and go “Wow, I really put that one in there??!!” But, oh well, we all learn and become better that way. As long as I have lots of really great poems too, then I can be proud of my mistakes. Now I am working on Volume II and feel much more confident. It’s the only way to learn! So please keep the submissions coming! I love getting each and every one whether it is accepted to Liquid Imagination or not.
Thank you, Chrissy. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
Six Questions for Kevin Wallis, Fiction Editor, Liquid Imagination