By Joseph Martini
Submitting poetry or any sort of writing to a literary magazine can be daunting. I know whenever I submit something to a magazine, I imagine the editors of the magazine sitting around a table, picking apart every single word I’ve written. This image could not be further from the truth. Every time I read a submission, I go in with an open mind and look for a reason to fight for the poem. We are looking to publish excellent work, and we want every poet who submits to succeed. That being said, sometimes a piece doesn’t perfectly line up with what we want to publish. So there are a few things that we look for in all the poems we read. Check out these three simple ways to make your poetry more likely to be published at The Kudzu Review, sourced directly from the Poetry section.
1. Avoid Cliché
In my opinion, this is the number one reason that poems do not get published at Kudzu. We are looking for poems with fresh language. Before submitting a poem here, I highly recommend editing to make sure your metaphors feel new and unique. If a poem feels like something we have never read before, we are far more interested in it. Don’t be afraid to try out some comparisons you’ve never made before, or use words you’ve never seen in a poem before.
2. Write Poems That Sound Like You
Don’t be afraid to use your own voice in your poems. A trap that lots of poets fall into is attempting to sound “poetic.” We will be more interested in your poetry if it sounds personal and distinct. Nobody can write a poem with your voice besides you, so it will certainly make your poem stand out to us if you write in your own voice. Reading existing poetry and gaining inspiration from accomplished poets is of course very important to growing as a writer, but there is no reason their voices should replace your own. I know it can be intimidating to write from a personal place, but it’s really important to create unique poetry.
3. Be Specific
This suggestion is one that seems easy, but can actually be tricky at times. I know when I write poetry, I sometimes get nervous about writing specific details because I’m worried that my reader won’t know exactly what I’m talking about. This fear isn’t really justified though. If a poem is too general, it can be a lot harder to relate to and understand. I really recommend giving us clear and specific details about the story you’re trying to tell in your poetry. Before submitting, I suggest reading through your submissions for any generalities or abstraction.
So that’s my advice for submitting poetry to The Kudzu Review! I really look forward to reading the rest of the submissions for this semester’s issue, and I hope that my advice is helpful to any hopeful submitters wondering what we look for in a good poem.
JOSEPH MARTINI is a junior at Florida State University studying Creative Writing. This is his first semester working for The Kudzu Review. When not reading other people’s poetry, he likes to write poems of his own.