Rattle Poetry Prize – Simultaneous Submissions

Due to some gracious feedback, we’ve made a slight expansion to the guidelines for the Rattle Poetry Prize. In regard to a poem’s availability, the following now applies:

RATTLE’s winter issue (Dec. 2007) must be a potential first publication for all works submitted. No previously published works, or works accepted for publication elsewhere. No simultaneous submissions, except to magazines or presses open to publishing reprints after January 1st, 2008. [expanded 7/9/07]

What we care about for $5,000 is that, when we choose the winners, we get to be the poem’s first publication, no matter what. Originally we had said that we simply wouldn’t consider simultaneous submissions — but it’s been brought to my attention that some people are hesitating to submit poems that also appear in manuscripts that they’re trying to publish. Since the process of getting a book published is such a slow one, and all rights revert to the authors upon publication in RATTLE anyway, this really doesn’t matter to us, as long as the book wouldn’t come out before RATTLE #28 gets a month on the shelves.

Because we’re already mid-stream, I didn’t want to change the rule completely; it makes more sense to add this slight expansion to the guidelines. They will probably be entirely re-worded next year.

8 thoughts on “Rattle Poetry Prize – Simultaneous Submissions

  1. Sorry, Tim, but I still wouldn’t send work. If your concern is unscrupulous people who wouldn’t withdraw their work upon acceptance elsewhere, I don’t see why you think having a “no simultaneous submission” rule is going to discourage them.

  2. My main concern is how difficult it is to handle withdrawals, given the way we judge the contest. It’s very important to us that we don’t know who the authors are as we’re deciding on a winner. Entries are only identified by a number we give them, so we’d have to find a way to pull the poem without noticing the poet’s identity. It would just be very inconvenient, and we’re already working overtime to get the results announced in 6 weeks, which isn’t very long to wait at all. A lot of journals are taking much longer than that, not giving out $5,000, and saying no simultaneous submissions anyway. I think we’re being fair enough.

    It is something we’ll think about for next year, though. It’s too late to make any radical changes for 2007. Maybe next year we can say that any withdrawal disqualifies the whole entry, which would solve most of the problems for us.

  3. I certainly understand no changes for this year–you’ve already had the guidelines out there. I just think, when you’re offering such a big prize, you’d want to increase the submission pool, not cut it down. There are dozens of contests that use blind judging but allow simultaneous submissions. They’ve obviously figured out a way to deal with the filing issue.

  4. It seems too late to make this change for this year. Surely you already have simultaneous submissions entered in the contest.

    I agree that six weeks is not a long wait but it wouldn’t be fair now for others to hold back submissions.

    The general rule is, unless expressly noted otherwise, competitions DO take simultaneous, they just don’t like to encourage them. When the winning and finalist works are selected, it’s a simple email or phone call to find out if the work is still available–then public notification. It’s all very civilized and rare that work is already accepted elsewhere, if so, everyone on the list jumps up a notch.

  5. The thing about the six weeks is that poets send out work throughout the year and some of the best magazines take up to a year to respond. So the “better” poems may still be under consideration elsewhere. Seems like the pool would be better with simultaneous submissions over all. As for pulling numbered entries that have been accepted for publication elsewhere, that sounds easy if you keep them filed or bound numerically.

  6. I’m never one to comment on blogs, but I did want to say that I don’t see a problem with not allowing simultaneous submissions to your contest. If I’m serious about entering a contest (as one should be for Rattle), I’ll hold my best poems specifically for that contest. For the opportunity to win five thousand dollars, I have no problem giving an editor exclusive access to my poems–especially since you’re only holding them for six weeks. You’re being more than fair.

  7. Hmm. The simulataneous submission question. Well, I suppose magazines have every right to establish and enforce whatevever submission policy they like. That being said, I do get a little miffed when certain mags–not saying which–have a ‘no simo sub policy’ but often hold poems four months or longer before sending them back, rejected in my case. Certainly that is their perog. But it is also my perog not to send those mags my work, even though I usually do cos many of those tardy–dilatory?–pubs, though arrogant, are quiote fine and have a commensurate rep. (I’m weak willed, too.) And as we all know, where you publish means a lot in the poe demimonde–very demi. Wears me out.

    Problem is, I only have a few poems worth submitting at any one time.(I’m slow and not real bright.) And when those poems are held four months by a pub that won’t allow me to submit them elsewhere during the interim–a problem compounded by the brief annual submission season–about eight months–my annual publication rate goes in the crapper. Where it probably belongs, anyway. Yet Rattle’s quick turn-around, six-weeks, poses no handicap for me because Rattle’s speedy response affords me pleany of time to submit my poems elsewhere before the publication season comes to a close.

    Thanks,
    Marto

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