Arlene Ang has had a poem accepted in the Poetry Salzburg Review, a magazine I’d heard of but didn’t know a great deal about. It looks very good (judging by the contributors), but before rushing to send your poems, take a look at issue 10’s editorial (.pdf file). A quick excerpt:
“When I receive email submissions, I send the poets a personal letter, acknowledging receipt of their submission and asking them to take out a submission. More than 90 percent do not reply. If only one third of these hopefuls replied and sent in a subscription, our finances would be in better shape. We could even turn Poetry Salzburg Review into a triquarterly magazine, or if deserted by our better judgement, start making token payments.” – Wolfgang Gortchacher
My first reaction is to sympathise. I see clearly the essential difficulty he points to, that ninety percent of poets want to see their poems published but don’t want to support the publication or even read it. If poets valued the literary magazines more, the magazines could be in a position to value poets to the extent of paying for contributions.
On the other hand, there are so many magazines, and even though subscribing to a few shouldn’t be a problem for most people, the subscription costs begin to add up. Should poets restrict sending poems only to magazines they subscribe to for fear of being thought parasites by those they submit to but don’t pay for?
I know that’s not what he means, and he takes pains to explain that his magazine will publish poems from subscribers and non-subscribers alike. But how many submitting poets don’t subscribe to any poetry magazines? Perhaps I’m living in a delusion. Maybe 90 percent of poets really don’t!