Voltage Poetry Submission Guidelines

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Voltage Poetry hosts an evolving conversation about the poetic turn.  If you would like to participate in this conversation, we would love to hear from you.  You should feel free, of course, to comment on the site’s posts.  However, if you feel moved to contribute more fully, you might consider submitting a reflection of your own.

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Anyone interested and invested in poetry—poets, critics, scholars, teachers, students, readers—may submit a reflection.  We’re looking for interesting, diverse selections, and insightful, articulate writing.

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If you’re interested, here are some guidelines—please read them carefully.

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Identify a poem you believe has a great turn, or great turns, in it.

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This component very likely will be the most challenging part of this process—there are so many great turns out there, and we won’t limit the field for you at all!  You may select any poem by another poet you wish to write about—from any time period, in any language (though an English translation should be available).  The only suggestion we will offer about selecting a poem is to think outside of the ordinary.  That is, some poems already are well-known for their great turns, and so it is not necessary to draw additional attention to them—unless, of course, you have something new to say about that poem and its turn(s).

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Once you’ve selected a poem, we recommend that you tell us (by sending an e-mail to Mike Theune [mtheune [at] iwu [dot] edu] what it is, and where it can be found (that is, provide us with a link or a citation—please see permissions information, below).  This way, we can begin work to attain permission to republish the poem.  (Please note that, though we do not have a permissions budget, we will work diligently to secure necessary permissions.  No submitted reflection will be turned down because we could not attain or afford permission—we will devise other means to make the poem available, including linking to other sites, or else we will cite what we can of the subject poem.)  Additionally, by letting us know as soon as possible the poem you’ve selected, we can let you know (though the chances of this happening are miniscule) if another contributor already has or else plans to write about the poem you selected.  You may then, but only if you wish, select another poem to write about.

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Write a reflection on / an appreciation of the poem you’ve selected, focusing on its turn(s).

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Your reflection may be any length, anywhere from a paragraph to a few pages.  And, of course, you are free to reflect on your selected poem and its turn(s) in any way you want—whatever you think will be most informative, or revelatory, or surprising, or controversial, or….

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Here are a few prompts for your writing, though each prompt is a possibility, not a requirement.  You might consider:

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  • the qualities of a great turn, generally;
  • the way the turn operates in the particular poem, or in the poet’s oeuvre;
  • how this turn compares with other similar turns;
  • the place of the turn in the circumstances of the composition of the poem (for example, was the poem revised numerous times before the turn was discovered or perfected?);
  • whether or not the poem’s turning is comparable to turning in other works of art or any other structured phenomenon.

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Some information on turns can be found at the Structure & Surprise blog.  However, use, or don’t use, this material only as you see fit.

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Submit your work.

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Our reading period is now open.

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Please send Mike (mtheune [at] iwu [dot] edu), in a Word document (.doc or .docx), your reflection and a brief (4-6 sentences) author’s bio.  Additionally, be sure to send as much permissions information (see below) as possible.

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Thank you for your interest in Voltage Poetry.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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All best,

Kim Addonizio and Mike Theune

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Permissions Information

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In an effort to streamline the permissions process, we would appreciate your help with gathering some basic information about the poem on which you are writing.  Providing this information makes it easier for us to continue posting quality reflections to Voltage Poetry and to get your submission processed quickly, so you can see your work up on the site as soon as possible!

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Additionally, if the poem on which you are writing was written by a living poet, and you think that poet would be receptive to us contacting him or her directly for permission to reprint the poem you have selected, please include any contact or other relevant information in the Additional Comments/Notes section.

 

Please include the information below on a cover sheet to your submission.

 

Author/Editor:

 

Book title:

 

Title of Selection:

 

Pages on which the poem appears:

 

ISBN (if applicable):

 

Publisher/Imprint:

 

Copyright Line:

 

Total number of pages:

 

Total Words (required for W. W. Norton books only):

 

Total Lines:

 

Total Number of Illustrations (if applicable/needed):

 

Additional Comments/Notes:

 

If your selection has been published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, please also include a photocopy (in a PDF) of the poem, copied from the book you cite here, with your submission.

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