snow melt and still
jack-knifed truck in a ditch
when it comes she said there is nothing you can do
it’s gonna take you
so many old wooden houses
grown over in wild vines the ground
a silver fire of mown corn
one day you will have to let go of everything
and what can help you
is it the wide fields the dark eyes of the deer
I have been awful things
I have been the light falling
over us the wing beat of vultures
of swans from the north
where the road crosses over the water”
The Missouri Review uses a submission management program called Submission Manager. Several other magazines use it, too — Ploughshares, for one — and most writers are certainly familiar with the system. It’s easy to upload the manuscript and the writer receives an automated “Thank you for submitting your work” email from us. Email is how we contact the writer, regardless of our decision. Over the course of a year, we receive approximately ten thousand submissions, and of those, we publish about forty or fifty manuscripts per year.
SubMgr allows the editorial staff to create different types of rejection emails. We do have what we call a “form rejection.” In the last five months, about thirty percent of our rejections receive our form rejection. Any litmag editor will say the same thing: we would like to be able to give a personal response to every writer, but the sheer volume of work we receive makes this impractical, if not impossible. We do receive plenty of submissions that are wholly inappropriate for our magazine and/or poorly written, but we never tell the writer to take a long walk off a short pier and hug an octopus. After all, no matter what we think on our end, chances are that the writer, regardless of his or her ability, spent weeks on the story. Our entire editorial staff is made up of writers: we know how tough this process is and we would never insult a writer in such a manner.
All other rejections can be considered “personal,” though we do have templates that plugin some basic information, such as the writer’s name and the title of the work that was submitted. We encouraged our interns and editors to provide encouragement, not criticism, about the manuscript. Something such as “we really enjoyed the energy and detail of the penultimate scene between Paul and Joanne.” It’s important for our writers to know which pages worked best for us. This, of course, might not be true of any other magazine (another editor may love the opening scene more) but it gives the writer a good sense of what fits TMR for any future submissions.
We always encourage the writer to submit again. We have no idea who the writer is, and we’ve published many authors who have been trying to get into our pages for years. So we always want to let writers know that we would like a chance to read their future work.”
Bizarro is fun to read, plain and simple. I would define it as absurdism on steroids. The main ingredient in most Bizarro books is weirdness. The plot lines, the characters, the dialogue, the situations, and often the settings are absurdly weird. Also, Bizarro fiction writers love to mix elements from a variety of genres. So you’ll see science fiction meshed with horror and western elements overshadowed by fantastic weirdness that makes you think Dr Seuss and Lewis Carroll invaded the mind of your favorite genre writer.
There are often grotesque or perverse aspects of Bizarro that would be a turn off for some readers, so it’s not for the easily offended. But if you like literature that stretches the boundaries of what is acceptable and forces you to open the window of your imagination, then Bizarro foots the bill.”