I was passed a great essay from Rattle magazine (who appear right below us in our NewPages review!) called “On Submitting Poems: By Any Means Necessary” by Bruce Cohen. It has some great anecdotes about Cohen’s trials and tribulations in submitting poems (he’s twice had poems accepted to reviews, later to be rejected because a new editorial regime came into power). At the end he adds a few guidelines, which includes this apt guideline:

PLACING A LIMIT on the number of times one can submit during a reading period is sensible—I like that idea. It’s smart. It keeps submissions to a reasonable number. It sort of forces you to send your best stuff, since you have only one bite at the Garden of Eden apple, although most poets don’t really know what their best stuff is.

Now why is that apt, you may ask? Well a while back there was an email that called out a few practices and guidelines in literary reviews and the “Writer’s Manifesto” even showed up on a couple prominent lit review websites. Potomac Review was honored to make the list. We even got our own paragraph!

3. “Anal”: Journals That Limit Submissions To Once A Year
Or once a reading period, same thing. Honestly, Potomac Review, you think we want to wait ten years to be published? We know that you don’t want to get flooded with manuscripts from hacks, but seriously, since you take four months to get back to people, why don’t you bump it up to at least two a year, or perhaps three. Be a kind journal. Play nice.

So there you go, one great essay that supports our model and one manifesto that doesn’t like it one bit. The reason we do it this way is so we can read, deliberate, and make the best decisions on each submission, so for now we’ll call this the “Garden of Eden apple” model.