Posts Tagged ‘Sam Newson


My Experience with The Portland Review

This is a story of a bizarre submission experience with The Portland Review.

On February 9, 2011, I submitted five poems to The Portland Review, which is a fine journal that I admire. They put out poems that I enjoy. I simultaneously submitted these poems to other journals, too. On April 23, one of those poems was accepted elsewhere, so I withdrew it from consideration at The Portland Review, and there were no problems.

On May 19, I received the following acceptance email from The Portland Review.

May 19 Portland Review acceptance email

Woo hoo! I’ve always wanted to be in this journal, and finally I will be. However, which poem did they accept? It doesn’t say. Might they have accepted more. I hope so. But I needed to find out, so I wrote them back asking which poem or poems were accepted.

May 20 first reply to Portland Review

They replied promptly, within four minutes, with this email.

May 20 second Portland Review acceptance email

Oh, man they took all of the four remaining poems. I was so happy because I had just begun this long series of poems about the Paleolithic artists who painted all those paintings in the caves in France and Spain and elsewhere. Actually, the poems are broadening out to the whole Paleolithic area and era. So I even have poems about the invention of the needle and the doll and other things.

Anyway, these four poems were accepted by The Portland Review. One of them, “Paleolithic Person Explains Cave Art and the Apocalypse,” was for a friend who passed away recently. In fact, Steve Noble, the friend who is no longer with us, helped me write that poem. I wrote that poem a couple of months after he passed, and he and I weirdly communicated with each other. I asked him questions, and he pointed me in the right direction, and I, we, wrote this terrific poem. So yay. Happy me. And happy Steve, who will be immortalized as I dedicated the poem to him. Thank you Portland Review. I then responded, as shown here:

May 20 second acceptance replyAll’s good in the world! . . . until July 18.

On July 18, I received this email:

July 18 Portland Review rejection letter

What? Hunh? Hey, you guys already accepted these poems. What’s this email about? Oh man. What’s going on?  So I responded as soon as I read the email, which was about an hour after Sam Newson, the poetry editor, sent the rejection.

July 18 rejection response top part

And then I documented our email exchange, which you just saw, and I concluded the email like this:

July 18 rejection response bottom part

Man, I had to write a lot of withdraw letters and emails. That took up some time and postage. Now, if these poems are truly rejected, I can’t send these poems to those magazines from which I withdrew them. The editors at those journals will be majorly confused and it will make me look silly. Now, my poems have less places to find a home, share their beauty, and change people’s lives.

Two days later there is no response. Last time they responded within the same day, within four minutes. Man, what’s going on? I’m kinda getting pissed here. So I wrote them again.

July 20 rejection response

(And below my salutation is the second acceptance email, where Sam lists all the poems they are going to use.)

I’m being professional here. Am I not? They certainly aren’t by rejecting what they accepted and not responding. Of course this non-response continues. I wrote them again the next day. This time to both the editor and Sam Newson.

July 21 rejection response

(Below is the second acceptance email listing the poems that were accepted.)

Ok. So that’s enough emails for now. Surely, someone has to respond.

Now, it’s Tuesday, July 26. It’s been a full week and a full day, and no one has responded. This is very unprofessional of Sam Newson and The Portland Review. It’s unethical, too, to accept poems and then reject them.

Further, what I am supposed to do with these poems. Are you going to use them in an upcoming issue or not? I need to know so I’ll know what to do with the poems. I mean, if you are not going to use them, let me know so I can send them back out into the world so they can find a home.

As an editor, I know what to do – You accept the poems you once accepted, and you respond.

It’s obvious they are avoiding me, and that’s even worse than accepting and rejecting the same poems. What’s going on over there, Portland Review? Respond to me. I’m getting pissed off right now. You are holding my poems hostage. Should I contact CLMP? Where’s when you need them? Where’s the professionalism? (At the same time, I hope everyone is okay over there, and that nothing went detrimentally wrong.)

You know, I could almost understand this if there was a change in editors. Well, not really. Re: Paris Review. (By the way, Paris Review, you’re on notice.)

In the end, I just hope this is just a mistake like the time a journal accepted my poems, printed them in their journal, sent me two contributor copies, and, then, a few months later rejected those same poems. Now that was funny. I hope this ends in an equally funny manner. Until then . . .

 Portland Review, you’re on notice!//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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