One key lesson I’ve learned from working with the Adroit Journal is that the taste of any given editor is never universal. Our team of poetry editors consists of five people, and our discussions of submissions also include the editor in chief and the executive editor. When we review the list of submissions that have made it to the final step before publication, we have active, passionate conversations about each poet’s work. We often disagree, argue, and even attempt to convince one another that our favorite work should be accepted. Remembering these editorial debates has served as a salve and a reminder in my own practice as a poet that any work’s acceptance involves such a rare confluence of events: meeting the individual tastes of editors, the editorial priorities of a given publication or issue, and the readiness of your own writing.
My advice to writers looking to submit their work anywhere is to not rush the process. Allow the time you need for something truly special to form. Many times, editors will love most of a poem, for instance, but intuit that the ending is rushed or that a central line confuses the general meaning of the work. Consider the magazine to which you are submitting the piece and why. Finally, one credo passed along to me that I wholeheartedly believe in is that sometimes rejection can be a form of protection. At times I’ll look back and be grateful that a piece I submitted wasn’t published. Publication, as thrilling and essential as it may be, should not be the sole reason for something to be written. Write it because you need it made, then the right readers will arrive.
—Francisco Márquez, poetry editor, the Adroit Journal