This always seemed like an obvious courtesy to me, but maybe I’ve been sitting behind the editor’s desk too long. I had to add a note to the submission guidelines today. Far too many people have been submitting poems by email, then sending another note the next day asking if we can delete a line or fix a typo, or swap in a new version of the poem altogether. I think what happens is that they notice errors in their poems in my receipt reply.
It might not seem like a big deal to make a change to a poem, but when you’re trying to log and read thousands of poems a week, these little inconveniences add up. And with email submissions, we can’t directly edit a sheet of paper — emails are pretty much concrete. So we have to edit the poem, forward it back to ourselves, and then log it in all over again. It’s very annoying, and with one-and-a-half employees, we don’t have time to be annoyed.
That submitters should be proofreading their work before they send it to us goes without saying. Similarly, if you’re still working on a revising a poem it’s not ready to submit. Give it a week or a month or a year.
What’s more, we don’t care about little typos at all. We’re not going to toss a poem in the trash because it’s should be its, or you spelled verisimilitude wrong. Mistakes happen. We’re too picky about the poems we like to be picky about line edits.