|Volume 35, Issue
Cover: Invasion, Franco Brambilla,
digital image, ©2008
Wyrms & Wormholes
I’m gratified by the number of submissions received for Star*Line since the beginning of the year. While not yet an unnavigable deluge, their frequency now approaches my capacity for prompt response. And this is a good thing! Marge Simon selected the poetry for this issue, her last as acting poetry editor; my selections will appear in the issues henceforth.
In poetry, like Coleridge I want to see the best words in their best order, rather than something thoughtlessly cobbled together. I admire poets who undertake ambitious concepts and difficult forms, but I would rather publish a minor vision, beautifully executed, than a more challenging project with intrusive flaws. As Quintilian wrote, “We should not write so that it is possible for the reader to understand us, but so that it is impossible for him to misunderstand us.”
I have very little tolerance for grammatical and logical flaws that interfere with reading, and feel strongly that it is an editor’s job to fix these—if not the poet’s! It seems to me that many speculative poets, poetry journals, and presses take very little care with these aspects of their finished product, and it drives me crazy. Misspellings, odd syntax, and missing or incorrect hyphens and italics are the equivalent of hearing someone read poetry aloud while mispronouncing words, inserting inappropriate pauses, inflecting speech incorrectly, and belching and scratching their crotch. Obviously, actual typos are just one of those things that happen. (My all-time favorite, from a fantasy novel-in-progress, went something like, “He slowly unbuttoned her blouse to reveal her beasts.”)
Online publications are eternally mutable (as long as one remembers the username and password …), but paper-and-ink publications require getting it right the first time—or, at least, in the final draft going to the printer. It’s difficult—impossible, really—for anyone to proofread their own work; we depend on several volunteers at Star*Line, as well as sending out the .pdf to all the contributors for proofing. While contributors rarely notice their own errata, they’ve proved invaluable in catching those of others.
It’s a given that neither this, nor any future issue, of Star*Line will be perfect (a perfectly crafted thing, it is said, attracts demons)—but we can try to approach that state more closely, albeit via the carping and pedantry of she whom you metaphorically behold before you.
See you in the future,
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