Poetry Notes

Saxifrage Poetry: Editor’s Note


Poets interested in submitting their work to Saxifrage Press should be familiar with the caliber of writers/creators we have featured in the past, as well as become acquainted with those poets/poems/aesthetics that we greatly admire.


To say that any one type of poem succeeds more so than another, or that a particular style/approach is superior would be completely incorrect. That said, there are standards we expect all submitters to adhere to:


A)    If your poems seem reminiscent of greeting cards, we suggest that you send your work elsewhere, especially journals/magazines that will appreciate them.

B)     We feel that all works submitted need a balance of the four basic building blocks of poetry (i.e. Form, Story, Music and Imagination). Any piece that seems too concerned with one of these, need not be e-mailed to us unless you feel you have virgin-birthed a miracle on the page (as a note: a virgin birth has only possibly maybe successfully happened once).

C)     Insightful and experimental work is more than welcomed, but abstraction for the sake of abstraction will promptly be rejected. You may not write for an audience, but you at least have to consider them in the end.

D)    Speaking of readership, a poet should challenge their audience, get them to hit the dictionary every now and again, get them to enter into rooms they thought locked, but academic/hubristic language that operates over a reader’s head, on purpose, will more than likely not make it to the featured spot.

E)    Formal poems can be submitted, but any of these works sent for review are up against CONTEMPORARY writers. Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manly Hopkins and W.B. Yeats are three of my favorite poets, but they were the best and the first at what they did—if you send me formal poems, I will weigh them against these powerhouses and more than likely you won’t win.

F)     All in all, an engaging/surprising/imaginative narrative is a damn good thing.

G)    Surprise us. Be original.


Yeah, I can quote E. M. Forster (“A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.”) or Salman Rushdie (“A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.”), but I think Carl Sandburg said it best:


“Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.”


If you don’t think I’ve helped you yet with my two cents, here are a few writers (and their poems) that ring our bells:


Philip Levine

Larry Levis

James Kimbrell

Rodney Jones

Traci Brimhall

Kathleen Graber

Judy Jordan


This list ain’t the be all or end all. As much as we like publishing artists and writers we admire, we truly, really crave something new, the chance to highlight an up-and-coming voice.


So, yeah: wow us. Lyrically kick us in the head. Narratively punch us in the gut. Do it. We dare.


And so on, and so on,

-Mark Jay Brewin Jr, Poetry Editor