Potomac Review Poetry Editor, Robert Giron, blogs about what he looks for in poetry submissions.
I suppose when one asks me what is that I’m looking for in poetry for the Potomac Review, I might sound like other editors in that we all want good, original poetry that is well crafted. That said, while the journal contains “Potomac” in the title, we aren’t limiting our scope to the Metropolitan Washington area. Nonetheless, the poetry needs to be accessible, so that on the first read, the reader is not confused by references that need to be “googled” every five seconds in order to better understand the poem. I would add to this that references to personal friends / family members by name which the reader has no knowledge of often leaves the reader wondering: Who is this? What’s the connection? Why is this important? If the poem makes sense without such references, then it’s probably a better poem simply in terms of communicating the message.
With regard to form or style, I have no preconceived preferences other than we are in 2012 so the poem shouldn’t sound like it was written in the 16th century. True some forms are more suited to the 16th or 17th century but the sounds and language of 21st century make things fresh, so surprise us. Along these lines, “Counting” by Eileen Kennedy in Issue 51 brings recent events to life in a sparsely written poem. However, it would be wrong to assume that we want several poems in this style for the next issue. In fact, just the opposite. I look for variety and freshness.
Then this leads me to what all editors say: always proofread your work aloud before sending the work out. One typo that is not serious might be overlooked, but two or more create a pattern and leaves the work in the rejected pool.
Remember, sending out work is like applying for a job: One should take it seriously.
I enjoy reading poetry and welcome your submissions.