Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spoon River Poetry Review, Where are You????

Just when I think I'm "over it," someone reminds of why I got involved in Foetry and then Post Foetry...

Today, I received the following email from a poetry contest entrant:

I decided to e-mail you to ask about the Spoon River Poetry Review.

[Note from Bugzita: by the way, the SRPR contest rules seem waffly and incomplete, although offering a subscription in return is a step in the right direction, although it looks as though our correspondent has not been receiving his issues. In any case, the judge should be announced before entrants send in their money.]

I have received no word from that publication since I submitted poems to its annual poetry contest. I e-mailed them to find out and did not get an answer. It has been since April 15th since the deadline, meaning it is now going on eight months. Maybe that is typical of poetry contests?

I understand that things take time but since SRPR does not allow for simultaneous submissions I can't submit my poems elsewhere in the meantime. Why do they take their merry old time to get back and keep me from submitting elsewhere? It doesn't seem fair to me. Or else I should "get over it" as that may be the world of poetry - slow as glacial ice!!

I have noticed that there has been no Fall issue of SRPR in which the contest winners will be published. Winter comes and the Fall issue is nowhere to be found. None in the mail and none posted on SRPR's website. I guess I'm either impatient or a sucker. Do you have any insight into this?

Thanks for your time and indulgence.

First of all, you're not a sucker; you have done all the right things: followed the rules and waited patiently for an announcement of 2007 winners. Secondly, I think that the "no simultaneous submission" rule is complete and utter BS, which is mostly ignored, anyway. Trust me, as a former editor, I have first-hand knowledge of this.

However, if your personal ethics dictate that you follow contest rules that dictate no simultaneous submissions, then I would say that you are off the hook after six months. It's your work, after all. Who are editors to say that you must wait an eternity for their answer?

Evidently, they have yet to announce the 2006 contest winners, so, my friend, you may have a very long wait.

It troubles me that your email was ignored--if the people running this contest are taking money from entrants, then they owe their paying-customer base answers. At the very least, the editor or other representative should post a message on the website, explaining the reason for the backlog and apologizing for the delay. Otherwise, they just look like another fly-by-night outfit.

How about it, Spoon River Poetry Review?

1. Answer your customers' questions.
2. Post an explanation/apology on your website homepage.
3. SRPR editor: feel free to email a response to me, which I'll post here.

In the future, contest entrants should take care and consider contests that incorporate these guidelines.



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