Pirene’s Fountain publishes “all genres of poetry [...] with no restrictions on length, style or form; however, free verse and shorter, more varied pieces are preferred.” Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
OL: Ami Kaye was very much the driving force. We felt as aspiring poets that there was a gap in the market for a credible poetry journal. It was all about aspiration and inspiration. We wanted to help aspiring writers by inviting submissions, while inspiring others by showcasing successful, published writers.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a poem and why?
OL: Meaning - the poem should convey something beyond the obvious, literal meaning of the words. The reader should be moved or challenged. A great poem should change how we view our world.
Economy - there should be no redundancy, no padding. Every word must count.
Lyricism - there should be a sensuality in the use of words. The poem must sound good, even in one's head if it is not read aloud.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a poem is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
OL: Like all journals, we have limitations of space—unfortunately we can only accept a certain amount of work to publish on Pirene's Fountain. We must therefore by necessity reject some excellent work. This is one of the most frustrating factors, but at the same time is indicative of the quality of submissions we receive.
Poor grammar, spelling and typos - paradoxically given the preceding answer, we do have to reject subpar work. We cannot edit or nit-pick submission, so we do ask submitters to proofread their work prior to submission. This has not been a great problem but happens from time to time.
Derivativeness. Not necessarily blatant plagiarism, but perhaps hackneyed subject matter, "samey" work with little new to say, or too obvious themes approached in a simplistic way. Lifeless work that does not excite us in any way.
SQF: Do you provide comments for poems you reject?
OL: No. Again this is partly due to limitations of time and other resources, but also in accordance with our "mission statement". We are not poetry teachers, (although some of us are suitably qualified) and do not set out to instruct as such. There are other websites whose raison d'etre is to provide prompt feedback–that is not what we are about (see question 1).
SQF: Will you publish a poem an author posted on a personal blog?
OL: Yes. Previously published work is considered if publishing credits and dates are provided.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
OL: What is the key to publishing a journal such as Pirene's Fountain? Obviously it’s about our submitting poets, but also because of our “behind the scenes” teamwork. We have a fantastic team which is as diverse as the poets whose work we showcase and we find incredible strength in our diversity.
Thank you, Oliver. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 10/25--Six Questions for Lark Vernon Timmons, Senior Editor, Pirene's Fountain