On Becoming a Poetry Editor
(from By Heart: Reflections of a Rust Belt Bard)
It’s Saturday night. The living room’s strewn with paper. The Indians are on, with the volume muted. I slit open the next envelope, take another sip of lukewarm coffee. I am a poetry editor.
How does one become a poetry editor? Yeats seemed to think it a by-product of hair loss (bald heads…edit and annotate the lines…) In my case, the senior editor was up to his eyeballs and asked me to help out. “Why not?” says I. Dan Bourne is a fine poet; he plays guitar and shoots hoops. Twenty years he’s worked on Artful Dodge, nursing it through the mimeograph runs of graduate school all the way to a full fledged national journal with staff and grants and a basement office and a logo (looks like a dead turtle—we’ll have to talk).
So far, this is what being a poetry editor has meant: I go to the Post Office and pick up a carton big enough for a Xmas tricycle, wrestle it into the car, rope the trunk, drag the box into my living room and tear the flaps off. Then I dig in.