Friday, December 22, 2023

Six Questions for Alan Perry, Managing/Poetry Editor, RockPaperPoem

RockPaperPoem is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit poetry journal run by an all-volunteer team of poets. It publishes three issues per year, requires no fee to submit, and nominates for Best of the Net annually. It welcomes submissions from anywhere in the world, and encourages work from under-represented, marginalized individuals. Send up to 5 poems for consideration, with a maximum of 2 pages per poem, fee-free during any of our three reading periods. Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Alan Perry: We wanted to fill what we perceived as a niche in the poetry journal market: an independent, non-university-affiliated journal that was no fee, easily accessible to all (online), targeting a high-level of poetry from experienced published poets, as well as poets seeking their first publication. We wanted to push the boundaries of contemporary poetry without sacrificing strong, emotional depth for experimentation. We also wanted to enhance the experience of encountering each of the poems we publish with an image indicative of each poem's theme or imagery, i.e. a visual introduction to poems.



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

AP: We look for a well-crafted poem that is grounded in humanity, including a deftly-conceived turn, strong theme, and poignant ending.



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

AP: A submission that looks and feels like it's an early draft: rough, not polished, not ready for publication. Also, a poem that belabors well-established themes without showing us something unique.



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

AP: The first few lines of a poem—much like prose—should intrigue us, want us to follow a path the poet has created, engage us with interesting language, scenery, or perspective. Bring us into the poem and make us want to stay.



SQF: Are there any styles/genre of poetry you’d like to receive more (or less) of?

AP: Our strong preference is for fresh, new free verse work with multi-layered meaning. We do not have themed issues, so we are open to any subject that connects with readers, whether lyrical, narrative, or confessional style. We generally shy away from rhyming, overly simplistic, and shape poems.



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

AP: "What is your vision for the future of RockPaperPoem?"


Our long-term vision is to become a leading U.S. online poetry journal recognized for its high-quality content, attractive design, reader accessibility, and contributor friendliness. We want to be known for promoting a wide variety of poetic styles, diversity in poetic voices, and a welcoming, inclusive community of poets in our publication. We look forward to bringing new poetry programs and opportunities to our contributors, submitters, and readers in the near future!

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



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