Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Of literary editors…

Paul Nelson is the editor of Kaimana, the literary magazine of the Hawai‘i Literary Arts Council. He sent me an e-mail message with this text. I felt it was such a wonderful example of a literary editor's thinking that I wanted to share it with you.
I'd worry that trying to manufacture a poem for this issue would not satisfy the quiet and music and intelligent sentiment of your work. I'd rather you not rely on my willingness to run "Guardian" [a poem I sent him some months ago], whole, again. I want your full ambition toward a new poem or two. Maybe one that answers one [i.e., a poem] you have already written but no longer feels true enough, because you have changed some. I work constantly against manufacture. I also don't think poems come to us. We find them because we are looking.

No comments: