From John C. Mannone
Thank you for considering American Diversity Report as a home for your poetry. Poetry is special to both ADR and to me. The aesthetics of this lovely venue is implicit in the name—American Diversity, which embraces a plethora of themes including, but not limited to cultural diversity, religious diversity, inclusion, equity, and tikkun olam (Hebrew meaning repair of the world). ADR champions the voice of women while being sensitive to men’s.
As a poetry editor, you might wonder about my editorial focus (within the broad stroked themes). I am passionate about this literary art form, and regardless of theme or genre (to which I am very open), I seek a well-crafted poem. It seems like this is such an easy thing to say, but what do I think it means? Consider LIMS, a mnemonic device that distills the art of poetry: Language, Image, Music, Structure. [Actually, this acronym applies to all literary writing, but the actual elements might manifest differently.] In the end, all of these elements work together to produce an artistic effect that is greater than the sum of these parts. Here is a very brief discussion of these elements:
Language, it is the compression, and unexpected use of words, together with syntax, that helps elevate the words to deeper meanings. There’s a texture to words, and a weight, that exceeds in poetry compared with prose. The use of metaphorical language helps to empower words. [In prose, words are important in many of the same things, but differ in their weight and overall function, which is to move story; in many cases, they are almost transparent.] There’s an increasing amount of “conversational” poetry. And though this sounds like an oxymoron, it is legitimate since it allows an edgy voice when needed that would be clunky in a lyrical voice. Be careful with prosy work; use other devices to help lift it into poetry. Story alone is not enough.
Image is not restricted to visual imagery but envelops all sensory images. It is more than a mere mechanism to concretize abstraction, but a vehicle for symbol. It’s a powerful element that immediately draws the reader into the world/situation spoken of by the narrator.
Music is not a reference to song, but to the power of sound. It’s about all the aural devices such as rhyme [end rhyme (hard and slant), internal rhyme, alliteration, consonance, and assonance]. It’s not limited to metrical verse but governed by the larger thing called rhythm—a pleasing flow of words, even when the beats are complex or syncopated.
Structure is critical and is not just the lineation (if any). It is important because the poem will seek its structure like water seeks its level. Its effect on rhythm is significant. The structure should complement the content, not the other way around. Forcing a poem into the wrong structure is like driving a round peg into a square hole. Free verse is not without structure and one of the most powerful devices it brings is the line break, a vehicle to create tension in the line.
All of these elements work in concert, reinforcing each other and make the other stronger. All of this helps to achieve the overall purpose of the poem and its concomitant emotional impact. And together with this, enlivens the writing giving it élan, but most importantly this is where the literary depth (its origin in Language) might come to fruition.
Finally, before you submit a poem, please check it for these elements. And since my desire is to help make your poem the best it can be, I will offer editorial suggestions while preserving your voice. If you are revision-resistant, then perhaps you should consider another market.
Additional discussion on my editorial focus is found on my website/blog (The Art of Poetry, The Music of Words: jcmannone.wordpress.com) and in a couple of old interviews below but the sentiment is still accurate. Please read them to get a better feel for my editorial focus:
I look forward to reading your poems and plan to publish two or more of them monthly. Remember to put all your poems and your third-person bio (notify me if it’s already on file) in ONE Word file (.doc or .docx). We use American English convention. You may submit artwork to accompany your poem, but please ensure there are no copyright infringements.