What Editors Want. . . ?

 What Editors Want: A Week of Fresh Catch Wishes (as opposed to the old reliable, workshop-safe, combed-and-scrubbed, A+-in-deportment, even par  poems & stories)

Day 1
Funk, something hybrid and loamy, misbehaving
like a snake that’s twined a wild vine
scabbed bark and lush blossoms
flagrant, ghastly
rumpled surface, tightly wrought structure and texture
crow-cawking, naughty (but dodging the obscene)
or something wholly serendipity and green

Day 2
A fairy tale subverted, myth twisted, old saw with new teeth
Grimm written as history
“Boldness has genius.” – Goethe
creepy-compelling (maybe ogres, but no vampires, werethings or zombies of fashion)
in hock to Angela Carter
madness with method to it

Day 3
urgent as a mystery, piquant, desperate even
channeling some kind of Anthony Burgess’s Little Alex-like primal embellishment
Catullus, undated again
what Sicorax said to the storm
a form deformed – sestina scrambled or writ as prose or camouflaged
OK – what The New Yorker seems to think is de rigueur, sine qua non
– but just this one day

Day 4
comic, but not mild or confectionary

Day 5
what the redwing blackbirds would say, could they be resurrected
feral, not floral nor feeble
angry, cranky
a fool’s errand successfully achieved

Day 6
a non-literary genre (menu, invitation, Christmas letter . . . ) yoked to literary ends

Day 7
work authentically, persuasively set in times with no (or few) cars, phones,
quickburgers, Brazilian waxes
or in places not predictable (Guatemala?  the Caucasus? a barber shop in Saigon?)
       but rendered untouristy
or, finally, work about characters whose occupations (luthier, Rotor-Rooter woman,
      jockey, surgeon) or preoccupations (luna moths, the Spanish-American War,
      hopscotch, scotch, hail, tetherball, mantel clocks, tomatoes, doubloons,
      funerary customs) provide them with a perspective and jargon that makes them
      refuse stereotype)

 Now that would be a week of discovery and re-configuring glee.

[lagniappe] quirk, swoon, horror, dazzling pizzicato

scarred bark and astonishing blossoms of the crape myrtle
pipsissewa suddenly arising under the river birch
and yes, there is the obligatory carpentry, but it’s not scrabble or
Betty Crockery

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.