What I Look For in a Poem

“Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds.”

-Barnett Newman

A recent short piece I posted on rejection seems to have struck a nerve with friends and readers. Following this hopeful lament of the inevitability of being turned down, I wrote some more practical advice for the Silk Road Blog, touching on what I, as Senior Poetry Editor, look for in a poem that I actually decide to accept. Although I remain uneasy with the aspect of editing that feels like being appointed an arbiter of taste, I none the less share candidly what my own tastes are, and what makes a poem jump out of the slush pile screaming, “Publish me!”