Snowdrops by Tanya McDonald

Can you believe we’re over halfway through February already? That means you’ve only got 12 more days to submit your 5–10 haiku/senryu for issue #5. Thank you to everyone who’s already done so! I love opening my email in the morning and seeing new submissions. Some are from names I recognize, others are from names that are new to me. Both are equally thrilling, because it all comes down to the poems themselves.

So, what happens when I receive a submission? After I read it, including the cover letter if there is one, I copy/paste the poet’s name and poems into a Word doc where I keep all the submissions for an issue. Next, I log the poet’s name, location, and the number of poems sent into an Excel spreadsheet. This helps me keep track of everything and everyone. Over the next few days, I read through the submissions I’ve received (and not yet responded to), highlighting my favorites and copy/pasting them into a new file of accepted poems. When I’ve got a few, I format them with the poet’s name and location below. I include that in the acceptance letter so the poet can verify that the haiku, their name, and their location are correct. Because I copy/paste from the original submission, it cuts down on typos, but they’re still possible, especially if a poem’s lineation is different from the standard left-justified haiku form. After the acceptance letter has been sent, I move on to the next submission, and the next, responding in the order in which they were received.

Sending out rejections is my least favorite part of being an editor. It has to be done, but it’s difficult, knowing that I’m disappointing people. I know I’m disappointed when I receive a rejection from an editor. But I also know it’s not personal, that for some reason my poems didn’t meet the editor’s standards. Sometimes when I reread my submission, I’ll shake my head and think “Why did I send those? I wouldn’t have taken any either!” Other times, I’ll just shrug, pick some to workshop with friends or my local haiku group, and send them out again. Sometimes it takes multiple revisions before a haiku finally catches an editor’s eye. Sometimes it takes persistence, sending it to one journal, then another, then another until it finds the right home. And sometimes, I have to let haiku go and move on to others.

Time to log some more submissions. I hope to be reading yours soon! And please encourage your friends and haiku groups to submit to Kingfisher. The deadline is February 28 and all the details are here: Good luck!

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