Editors Talk Poetry Acceptances: Danielle Zaccagnino, Third Point Press
As a platform for emerging poets, our mission is to provide practical help for serious writers. The community lifts itself up together or not at all. In that light, we’ve been asking some great editors from around the literary community for their frank thoughts on why poems may get accepted/rejected from their own slush pile of submissions, and what poets can do to better their chances. Today, we’re speaking with Danielle Zaccagnino, Poetry Editor of Third Point Press.
From a craft standpoint, what causes you to accept a poem?
Danielle Zaccagnino: I accept a poem if it hits me in a powerful way, if it engages with a deeper, trance-like self, if it tells a complicated emotional truth, if it is aware of sound, if it has a clear sense of resolution or irresolution.
If there were one craft technique that you wish poets would focus on, what would it be?
I wish more poets knew about Rachel Richardson’s article on revision, “The Warmth of the Messy Page.” It’s a thrill to send out a new and exciting first draft, but they do usually read as first drafts.
How many rejections have you faced and how do you deal with them?
I did the “100 Rejections” challenge one year, so I got at least 100 in that year alone. It helped me push past the stress of submitting, but I decided not to submit that way anymore because fit is very important to me.
I’ve learned that rejection is potentially related to many factors: not understanding a journal’s vision; having your style or subject matter already over-represented in an issue; presenting a poem that’s not yet finished; touching on a topic that requires deeper exploration; presenting a poem that is overly reminiscent of another poet, etc.
Whatever the reason, rejections don’t mean that you’re not good enough as a person, no matter how much of your heart you put into your work.
Does your publication seek out specific styles or aesthetics of poetry that writers submitters should know about?
We like poems that are thoughtful and layered. Poems that reward re-reading. Poems that build up to an emotionally resonant moment. We also like fun and dark and off-kilter.
Danielle Zaccagnino (poetry editor) has an MFA from Texas State University. She was the winner of the Sonora Review’s 2016 Essay Prize, and her writing appears in journals such as Day One, Word Riot, The Pinch, and Puerto del Sol. You can read her work at daniellezaccagnino.com or follow her on twitter @yell_yesful.