ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Nicole Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Veronica An
   Zack Anderson
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Craig Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Leah Brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Zachary C. Bush
   Tony Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   HélÚne Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Terry Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J. de Salvo
   J de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Dorsey
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Ron Dvorkin
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amelie Frank
   Amélie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   Matt Harris
   William Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Jessica Healy
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gary Justice
   Gene Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Bernard Kennedy
   Raud Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Ashley King
   Robert S King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Lee Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   David McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Robert John Miller
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Toti O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Nina Orlovskaya
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
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   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Kristena Prater
   Luke Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
   Alison Ross
   James Robert Rudolph
   Walter Ruhlmann
   Gina MarySol Ruiz
   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
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   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
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   Howard Sage
   Russell Salamon
   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
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   Lorraine Sautner
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   Peter Schwartz
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   Sondra L. Scott
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   Lisa Segal
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   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
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   Dahn Shaulis
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   June Shiitake
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   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
   Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
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   Lee Sloca
   Carol Smallwood
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   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
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   Karr Stratynberg
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   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Dee Sunshine
   Mani Suri
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   Barbara A. Taylor
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   Allen Taylor
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    The Unarmed Man
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   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
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   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Evan Traiger
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   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
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   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
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   Gene van Troyer
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   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
   Evan Walsh
   Sharieff Walters
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   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
   Leigh White
   Megwynn White
   Kelley White
   J.T. Whitehead
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   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
   Jessica Wilson
   Robert D. Wilson
   Amye Wilson
   Alicia Winski
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   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
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   Julie Yi
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   Gregory T. Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
November 2004
   

 

Nonpareil: Ursula T. Gibson, poetry editor of Poetic Voices

pd: What motivated you to start your own online poetry publication? Why online as opposed to a print publication? What is the biggest advantage? The biggest disadvantage?

UTG: I'm afraid I must disillusion you. I am merely the Poetry Editor for the publication commenced by Robin Travis-Murphree in 1996, and have never claimed to be the Executive Editor! She and I became acquainted in the old Poetry Place, where poets met online for about three years or more, which is now defunct, and Robin liked the way I dealt with other poets and commented on their work. As a result, she appointed me Poetry Editor in 1997, and I have acted as such since. (You might want to look at her Introduction of me as Featured poet in the October 2004 issue of Poetic Voices at www.poeticvoices.com, where Robin describes in detail how we came together).

The advantage of working online for me is the worldwide exposure and receipt of submissions of poetry from all over the world, and the reasonable expense of money involved in handling the large number of submissions we receive each month. Although we do get some "snailmail" submissions, the largest proportion of contributions (both of poetry and articles and book reviews) is by e-mail. The time spent on response and acknowledgement, review, critique (if requested), and selection would, I think, be about the same in both media, on-line or print, for someone in my position.



pd: What criteria do you use for submissions?

UTG: I use three steps in my evaluations.

1) When the e-mail/snailmail comes in, I acknowledge receipt of the specific poems, tell the author for which issue they are being considered, and promise to read them carefully. At that time, if I notice any grammatical, spelling, syntax, or punctuation problems, I'll ask the author what was intended.

2) The deadline for submissions to Poetic Voices is always the 15th of the month for the succeeding month's issue. On the 16th of the month, I start reading all submissions again, using my Evaluation Sheets covering ten specific characteristics of poetry to keep me on track. Those are: Rhyme/Rhythm; Poetic Devices; Comprehension/Coherence; Mood/Imagery; Word Selection; Scope/Significance; Line Endings/Line Breaks; Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar; Content Realized; and Universality. Each of the ten gets 10 points (100 in all), and submissions scoring 85 or above move on to the final Consider stage. Scores in the high 90's are rare.

3) I review and read aloud all poems that reach the final Consider stage, several times, assessing the power, mood, purpose, and effectiveness of the words and form of the poem -- that is, how it moves me, persuades me in its argument or point of view, and lastly, how proper it would be for our worldwide audience. This work, on the 150 to 340 poems a month that I get to read, takes time and quiet around me and minimal distractions for those ten days before my deadline to submit the completed POETRY PAGES for Poetic Voices.




pd: You've spoken a bit about your submission criteria. What are your specific submission guidelines (when/where to submit, how many pieces to submit, content preferred or not accepted, style preferred or not accepted, compensation, etc.)?


UTG: Poetry: Please e-mail the text of no more than four poems (during any one month) all in the body of one e-mail to the poetry editor, poetryeditor@poeticvoices.com. Please do NOT ask for downloads; write your poems in your e-mail letter itself. Mark your Subject Line "SUBMISSION - PV." Please also include your full name in the e-mail. I recommend using no colors and a simple font like Arial 10 for your submissions. We do not accept pornography, obscenities, scatology, racial slurs, or dehumanizing language. . . . In your e-mail submitting your poetry to be considered for publication, please include your full name, your city and state or country if not the U.S.A. We will be indicating the city and state where the poem comes from, so our readers can enjoy the geographic diversity of our contributors.




pd: How many submissions do you receive per issue? Per year?


UTG:I read between 150 and 340 individual poems each month. I have done no analysis on which months are the greatest in number or which months seem to lag behind -- whatever comes in, I read. Since each poet is limited to a maximum of four poems, you can do the math as to how many people submit to our magazine. Since we publish EVERY month, the number of submissions we receive per year is between the minimum of 150 x 12 (1,870) and maximum of 340 x 12 (4,080). :) We are more concerned with the number of poems we get to publish.




pd: What are your favorite poetry publications, whether online or print? Do you take any inspiration from these publications in your own?


UTG:I can't answer this question. In my office at home, I have two bookcases (8 feet high, six shelves, four feet across) full of books about poetry and how to write it, how to read it, how to understand it and books by poets, about poets, including their poetry, chapbooks, books I've reviewed, and miscellaneous commentary in magazines that I've kept. When I need answers or help or information, I'll grab the book most likely to provide the information or help I need.

Obviously, I'm prejudiced in favor of Poetic Voices (www.poeticvoices.com) online, but poeticdiversity, Poetic Arts, Nexus.com, sensitivePoetry.com, Poems Niedergasse.com, Poetry Society of America, and the chatrooms Platinum Poetry, Poetry Tag, and Poetry Workshop receive as much of my time and attention as I can provide.



pd: You obviously invest a great deal of time in your role as a poetry editor. How does that affect your writing, considering the volume of work you are exposed to on a daily basis?

UTG: Yes, poetry editing does take time, but I'm fortunate to be 74 years of age and not working full-time in a law office any longer. I serve five attorneys' offices from my home, transcribing their dictation of motions, briefs, letters, legal forms, and the like, but it isn't full-time work, just enough to earn the purchase of opera season tickets and concerts we want to attend, movie tickets ($7.50 even with senior discounts -- I remember going to the movies for 25 cents!) and small trips we like to take. None of that activity affects my writing. When the Muse visits me, there is plenty of paper and always a pen at hand, in almost every room in the house, and I can jot down the impulse/realization as it occurs. Since we get up at about 7:30 (when the cats want to go outside) and don't retire until 12:00 midnight or 1 a.m., the long day offers many opportunities to write in addition to my editor or legal duties.



pd: I know you have extremely high standards for presentation, both on the page, and in performance. I (Marie speaking here) was fortunate enough to hear you on October 11th at Don K. Campbell's Pasadena reading. You read your poem "America" from the Push and Carry (or neither) Anthology (sponsored by the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly). Your recitation was clear, your words compelling, and you maintained constant eye contact with the audience. It definitely grabbed my attention! How did this standard develop? I know you've written a book about it (Be Prepared, Don't Mumble, Look UP! or How to Read Poetry Aloud, Dry Creek Press, 2003, 56 pages) Do you find oration to be a lost art? What (other than reading your book) can be done to regain this skill for contemporary poets?

UTG: In college, I was required to take a certain number of classes in English to support my English minor choice. One semester, I lacked two units of English and searched for some class I could take, and I found something called "Oral Interpretation," taught by Dorothy Kaucher, Ph.D. I had NO idea what it was about; it was really a class designed for speech and drama majors, and I, a Music major, felt very out of place among those dedicated thespians. But I listened and read and absorbed what Dr. Kaucher was offering. I did all the exercises, learned to edit material to suit time and occasion, learned to enunciate, learned inflection, learned to project my voice, learned about eye contact and its impact and value, learned pace and timing, learned what a pause does, learned how to shape a reading toward its ending, and learned how to prepare a program. I figured if I should turn out to be a teacher, my ability to read well might come in handy. The final assignment for the class was to edit a short story down to a 15-minute reading and present it in class. I chose "Was It a Dream" by Guy de Maupassant, a horror story told in vivid terms. I got an "A" in the class.

Some time during the next semester, I saw Dr. Kaucher between classes and greeted her. "Oh," she said, "I was looking for you. You're coming to the celebration tonight, aren't you?" I had heard the Speech and Drama people were celebrating something, but hadn't thought of going. "Oh, you MUST come!" she said. "Many of the Oral Interp people are going to be there, too." Okay, I thought; nice evening.

So there I was, sitting among all these Speech and Drama majors in the auditorium, listening to various skits and play fragments they'd written. Then the chairman of the Speech and Drama Department got up and said they were going to award the first Dorothy Kaucher Award for Excellence in Oral Interpretation that night. Well, I thought, that's good! I wonder who will win it. And then he called my name!

I've done my best since then, to honor the receipt of that award and Dr. Kaucher by my own oral interpretations, not only of my poetry, but other readings -- segments of novels, historical speeches, birthday greetings, anything in writing that needs to be read aloud. The book, Be Prepared, Don't Mumble, Look UP! or How to Read Poetry Aloud attempts to provide insight into what makes reading aloud effective. Jack Fulbeck wrote the back cover note: " . . . Adopting the book's suggestions may transform a reader from one of the many who do public presentations to one of the few who do them well." :) I'm so proud!

Besides reading that book, what can be done to regain this skill for the contemporary poets? There are about 28 other books that deal with the subject of oral interpretation, at all levels of aspiration. But practicing your own material aloud, avoiding getting in the way of its communication by self-centered practices of body gestures, exaggerated hand movements, overuse of the voice, and other current irritants, remains the best way to be sure that you convey the meaning of your poem, not just the sounds or noises it makes. Poems contain feelings and ideas; that's what you want to express.



pd: Who are some of your favorite poets, both classic and contemporary? How have these poets influenced your work?

UTG: Robinson Jeffers (poems of his like "The Purse Seine," and "October Night" are unforgettable); Edna St. Vincent Millay (because she was a rebel); Emily Dickinson (because she wasn't); Rudyard Kipling (the Jungle Book stories, If, The Explorer, etc.), William Shakespeare (because he created real people out of words and spoke the truth); Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (for his intimacy and recognition of the human condition). I enjoyed Howard Nemerov's humor and sensitivity; I like Billy Collins forthright approach to life and people (and his helpfulness to poets). And of course, I love the poets who send me their work to consider and especially those whose work gets chosen to be included in Poetic Voices!

I think what I've absorbed from the poets whose work echoes in my mind is the condensed emotion they have packed into their words -- that it's all right to feel; it's all right to be human; it's all right to live intensely. The difficulty in writing a poem rests in the fact that a poem deals with one aspect at a time -- even The Iliad is only about the war against Troy, though it examines the participants in detail; it does not tell us much about what happened afterwards to the people involved. The Odyssey does that. And the poet needs to be disciplined enough to focus on that one aspect to be presented. Many of my own original manuscripts show how I wander to other subjects and have to go back and strike out the extraneous ideas to get to what the poem is really supposed to be about.

During the "creative" phase of writing, of course, I let the words come as they may. But you'll never find me sharing a poem I've written until I've let it sit for a day or two or even a week, and then gone back and read it aloud to find and eliminate the extraneous words, the unnecessary lines, the clutter and overwriting that I tend to do. That editing, revision, fine-tuning, I think, is absolutely essential. I don't mean just eliminating unnecessary "the," "and", and similar current practices. I mean making sure the poem focuses on its subject and leads to its ending.

In addition, reading the poetry of others has encouraged me to write, myself. In 1988, I discovered a poetry chat room on the GEnie network, Poetry Corner, with a lot of people actually writing their poetry out for each other to read! Amazing! One day, the host IM'd me, asking if I had a poem ready to read. I said I didn't. He said, 'Write one! I'll call on you in two minutes." And indeed, in two minutes, he IM'd, "Are you ready?" to which I replied "Yes" and presented what has become my signature poem, with which I end all my formal "feature" readings:



Tolerance



Ants in my parlor plants, trail away;

I don't want to kill you!

Moth in the reading lamp, flutter outside;

Fly in the computer room, buzz elsewhere;

Mosquito in the bedroom, hum another tune;

I don't want to kill you!

Cockroach in my kitchen? You --

Haven't got a prayer!!



Ursula T. Gibson, 1988



pd: Given your training and high standards, how do you feel about the slam poetry movement? How do you view the growth of slam and do you feel it can/should be included as a part of the modern poetry scene, or should it be considered it's own separate genre? If so, why?

UTG:Slams are fun, but I don't think they demonstrate or produce top-quality poetry. The effort to be sensational seems to dominate, and craftsmanship, artistry, thoughtfulness, or human insight seem to become secondary to "winning". I think slams undoubtedly are part of the modern poetry scene, but I don't think winning a slam indicates quality or significance any more than a winning lottery ticket does.



pd: In what direction do you see the Los Angeles poetry scene heading? In five years? In ten years? Do you think print publications will be absorbed by webzines like ours, in the same way the electronic media (tv, internet journalism) has taken over print media (newsprint, magazine)?

UTG:I'm not exposed to enough of Los Angeles poetry to make any predictions on its direction or purpose. Influences like the national Poets Laureate, rebel poets like Bukowski and Ginsberg and current front-line protestors, and the underswell of simple people expressing themselves about the current human condition just indicate that poetry remains one of the most concise ways for people to let their feelings and knowledge be known. I have no doubt that in one way or another, poetry will remain vital and alive, because the ability to convey condensed emotion so that a person listening to it is moved and influenced to think about life remains one of humankind's "searches" for better, happier, more fully understood ways of living. I suspect that print magazines (like Poets & Writers, or Poetry) will find funding for their efforts, no matter what the Internet does, but the Internet will make more poetry (both good and poor) available to more people than books have done recently. Both are needed; it's up to the poets to support their outlets; if they don't, there won't be any place for their poems to be printed and available to the non-computer-users of the world. We can't assume that, even in ten years, the whole world will be computerized or connected to the Internet-most countries are too poor to afford a total conversion like that, and even the United States has millions of people who still read books, rather than computer screens. It would be unwise to focus on only one means of publication. If we poets want to be heard, we'll have to accommodate more than the Internet.





    Ursula T. Gibson has been the Poetry Editor for Poetic Voices (www.poeticvoices.com) since 1997. She and her astronomer husband have lived in Tujunga, CA since 1979, after many overseas adventures. She is a member and State Treasurer for California Federation of Chaparral Poets, and belongs to the California State Poetry Society. Her works have been published widely, including in U.S.A., as well as in Canada, England, India, South Africa, and Australia.



copyright 2004 Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello