Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Six Questions for Megan Duffy, Poetry Editor, The Meadowland Review

From the website:

"The Meadowland Review is an online literary journal comprised of a small group of writers and editors who share a commitment to providing a public space for thoughtful and original material. We welcome and encourage both emerging and established writers of short fiction and poetry. " Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a poem and why? 

MD: Well, this is going to sound a bit nebulous, but as Emily Dickinson said, if the poem makes me feel as if the top of my head is lifting off, I know it is what I'm looking for. This usually ends up amounting to what I feel is a unique and thoughtful approach to language, perhaps innovative syntax that mirrors the "what" of the poem. Or it could be a fresh set of images that clearly reflect the atmosphere of the world of the poem. By "world of the poem," I mean what the poem is trying to say and how it is saying it.

SQF: What are the top three reasons a poem is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?


  1. If the "world of the poem" feels inauthentic to me, I am usually turned off.
  2. If I read a poem and think, I've read this poem before, I know it's not for us.
  3. If the language feels worn, clunky or cookie cutter-ish, I pass.  Authenticity is entirely subjective, of course. 

SQF: What other mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a poem?

MD: Funnily enough, misspellings and grammar do not automatically turn me away from a poem. I am more concerned about careless construction. For instance, haphazard or unthoughtful line breaks, similes or metaphors that feel tired and overused and do not mirror what I think is the purpose of the poem.

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a poem?

MD: No, we do not provide comments, and we do not suggest revisions.

SQF: I read a comment by one editor who said she keeps a blacklist of authors who respond to a rejection in a less than professional manner. I'm sure you know what I mean. What do you want authors to know about the poems you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

MD: It's rather simple: what I would like all poets to know, whether we have rejected or accepted their work, is that in my opinion, literary editing is really based on personal preference. A rejection is not a death knell for your poem(s). One editor may reject what another may do a happy dance for. Conversely, a poem that I accept maybe uninteresting to another editor. I know this. I hope all  poets know it, too.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't, and how would you answer it?

MD: What literary journals do you  read and admire?  Here's my answer: Rattle, Hotel Amerika, Exquisite Corpse, The Corltand Review.

Thank you, Megan. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: Six Questions for Dehanna Bailee & J. Grant (Sr. Editor) from Blue Leaf Publications

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