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This report is taken from PN Review 204, Volume 38 Number 4, March - April 2012.

From the Latest Bow-Wow Shop Michael Glover
Editors, how they choose what to publish

Being human, and therefore insatiably inquisitive when we are not either rolling drunk or asleep, we always want to know - don't we? - why in heaven's name the poetry editor over at Faber or Cape or Salt or Green Spearmint Press has managed to reject that manuscript of seventy-six double-spaced pages over which we may have sweated years of ever thickening blood.

Usually, though, they don't really tell us - well, who can blame them? - because they haven't got the time to go into that sort of thing when they are being paid so little, and it's raining outside, and some red-rimmed-eyed number-cruncher has once again threatened the poetry list with closure, and they are consequently engaged in a ferocious counter-attack, which may or may not involve getting all their authors - including the best-selling fiction writers - to stage a mass resignation from the ever grimmer and glummer publishing conglom in which they have never felt that they have been exactly sitting pretty...

Who would write back to a mere feedback-thirsty poet in such trying circumstances? Precious few. Precious, precious few, at risk of over-emphasising the point. So we thought that we would ask them for you, as a little act of public service. Why do they publish what they publish? What makes one manuscript special and another not so special?

Here is the note I sent to various editors, and below ...


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