PRISM international is a quarterly magazine out of Vancouver, British Columbia that publishes fiction and creative non-fiction to 25 pages and poetry. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
Pi: Fresh themes, sharp diction, and good use of the page. We're a print publication, and I think it's a great opportunity to publish work that looks good in that space.
SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a submission?
Pi: No cover letters. Life-story cover letters. Comparisons of women's breasts to melons. Gratuitous genitalia references. Racism. (No, white male poet, you CANNOT touch that Black woman's hair. Not even in a poem. Shut up right now.) Poems titled “Ode to the Soul of the Cosmos.” Poems that are centered on the page (unless they’re really, really good, and there’s a really good reason). Modern day Arthurian epics.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
Pi: As a rule, no. But we’ve been known to throw out a bone or two.
SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog?
Pi: No. Internet means published.
SQF: What do you want authors to know about the submissions 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?
Pi: We don't normally reply with comments, so as to avoid the "polite questions." What we do try to do is to provide a two-month turnaround on submissions so that authors can find the best venue for their work as quickly as possible if it's not PRISM international. This also gives us much more time to work closely with the authors we do publish, which means we can do more substantive editing and mentorship. Our only rule? Don't ever send us a nasty reply to a rejection letter. Unless you don't really ever want to be published in PRISM. And hey, editors talk.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
Pi: We do have Canadian content guidelines; within that, we'd love to see work from more BC poets, Unceded Coast Salish Territory and First Nations poets, and LGBT2IQ poets!
Thank you, Leah and Zach. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 6/7-Six Questions for Anna Ling Kaye, Outgoing Prose Editor, and Jane Campbell, Incoming Prose Editor, PRISM international