Nicole W. Lee of Four Way Review Recommends...

Submission of a poem starts long before pressing Send. At Four Way Review, we receive hundreds of poems each month, and as editors and readers working around the rim of our regular lives, many of us have developed the skill of knowing within the first few lines whether a poem electrifies us or not. The most vital element is that you’ve spent the time to percolate your voice and your poems, to know for yourself why you broke the line there, why you’re interested in this subject matter, why this word excites you. Even if it doesn’t land with us, at least you’ll know why you made those choices, and hopefully it will land with someone who also loves them. 

Identify what intoxicates you—how you and a particular form interact, your personal history, sonics, documentary poetry, whatever it is—and follow it, especially if you’re from an underrepresented group. We’re always looking for diverse voices at Four Way Review, as well as poems in which content interacts strikingly with form. During the editing process, we usually discuss your poem extensively between ourselves, but don’t feel like (as writers often do) you have to accept every suggestion. It’s your vision: Publishing a poem should feel like a partnership where we’re doing our best to champion you.

Nicole W. Lee, associate poetry editor, Four Way Review

Photo credit: Nicole W. Lee