Friday, October 19, 2018

Six Questions for Barbara Bergman, Editor, Evening Street Review

Evening Street Review publishes poetry (free verse formal verse, and prose poetry), prose (short stories, essays, and creative nonfiction), and Letters to the Editor. 

(ceased publication)

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

Barbara Bergman: Believable characters. If a character is too generic, or odious for no
reason. we lose interest.

Concision. Shaggy dog stories need not apply unless they meet the next characteristic in spades and maybe let us laugh out loud as well.

We learn something--cultural facts, a character learns from the experience, or "norms" are challenged.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

BB: Predictability, or opacity.

SQF: What sets Evening Street Review apart from comparable publications?


SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?

BB: The top three characteristics above or the promise thereof.

SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

BB: We recently broke our own aversion to erotica or sex for sex sake because we realized that there was a justifiable reason for it. Which, of course, meant it wan't just for its own sake. It still feels like going out on a limb. We also are adverse to stereotypes whether they harm or are just plain boring.

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

BB: What do you do with a piece that is almost acceptable, but not quite?

If it can be redeemed with a minor tweak, we ask for it. If we think it needs more work, but is otherwise acceptable, we ask for a rewrite. If it seems hopeless, but is outstanding in some way, we try to tell the writer that. Mind you, this is in less than 1% of our reading.

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


  1. I have a question, that wasn't asked.-Should email/electronic submissions be an attachment, or in the body of the email?

  2. The content of the email is OK.

    We prefer .doc(x) or .rtf attachments. We accept PDFs, but they cause "translation" problems when converting to .docx later.

  3. How do I submit, electronically? If I submit be email, how do I pay the reading fee?

  4. There are no reading fees for Evening Street Review. For our contests, there is a PayPal link on each guidelines page. You can also send a check.

  5. I have read your guidelines, which straightforward and explicit, but I'm wondering if you have a max. word length? I would like to submit a compelling 5,800-word story to you. Too long?

    1. In general, we don't have a word limit. However, our choices are guided by "only necessary words." So if your objective is to make a specific point, make sure you stick to the point. As an example, Kristen Laurel's "Love Sick" in Evening Street Review #5 shows in 165 words the frustrations of dealing with victims of domestic violence.