11 March 2009

No substitute?

It's 4:30 pm, and I've just ripped my contacts out of my eyes and put glasses on. I get the same feeling every day, like my eyes are encapsulated in burning half-spheres from hell. I can thank staring at the computer screen for this.

Simultaneously, I've been contemplating an eventual move to electronic submissions for the Akron Poetry Prize (not this year, but in the future). I'm of two minds. I personally like the convenience of submitting electronically, even if I can't kiss the envelope before sending. But I'm not sure how I'd like reading electronically as an editor.

We only do electronic subs for Barn Owl Review, but I print out things that interest me and read them on paper. With my own poems, I don't feel that they are real until I've seen them on the page.

However, when I read an online litmag, especially one that really curls my toes, I have no problem connecting directly with the text, à la print.

Where do you stand on this dilemma? Can you read, and I mean read, off the screen? Will this get easier with time?

If you would like to discuss this issue further, come see me read at the Literary Cafe in Tremont tomorrow night. Details here. In honor of Lent my theme will be Sacred + Profane.


Oliver de la Paz said...

I kind of like the old-school way of submitting manuscripts, but I'm changing. Just sent my mss. to Four Way and it wasn't painful.

I, however, don't like reading so many pages online. I have to print things out--scribble things down.

Collin Kelley said...

I absolutely HATE having to mail anything now. Hate it with a passionate hate. I think all magazines and journals should accept submissions via email, especially manuscript contests. It costs a fortune to print and mail and does nothing for the environment. Don't get me wrong, I love books, but I think it's time for all publishers to realize that mailed submissions are passe.

Anonymous said...

Like ODP, I just sent to 4way and I found it really easy. I'd prefer electronic, but for submissions--but I do understand the pleasure (tactile) of reading, too.

S_Allen said...

I can read things online, but don't enjoy it.

I love that lit mags are now accepting online submissions - it really is the way to go.

But reading is so much easier in printed form.

Lyle Daggett said...

I strongly dislike reading poetry on a computer screen. I don't find it quite as disruptive for reading prose, at least news or technical prose, information, etc.

But for me, much of the power of poetry -- whetner I'm reading it or hearing it read out loud -- is in the silence (or open space) around the poem. It's difficult to find that on a computer screen (or listing to an MP3 file). It's very difficult to separate the content from the medium.

I don't necessarily mind submitting poems electronically, though I've mostly done it on paper. I don't submit a huge amount, I'm pretty selective, -- and have never entered a contest -- so the cost hasn't been a big concern for me.

One potential drawback with submitting electronically is that in many of my poems I use irregular margins on both the left and right sides, the margins flow all over the page on both sides. It's easy enough to handle this in MS Word, though some editors prefer (at least initially) to receive poems typed as text into the email message. In some email programs, the formatting of the irregular margins doesn't carry over well.

I typed my poems for many many years on a portable manual typewriter. It's nice to be able (on a computer) to fix a typo without having to retype the whole page, but it was easier to do the visual formatting on the manual typewriter.

Marissa said...

I can't stand reading things on the computer past blogs. I have the same burning eye problem.

~ said...

Hi Mary,

As a editor, I can't stand reading online. Crab Creek Review is old school as we don't accept email submissions except internationally. The main reason though is cost. We pass poems through the hands of a few editors and we like to be able to comment directly on the paper. If we had received these online, we'd have to pay for the toner, paper to print them out and as a small press, the cost is too much.

The paper works best for us and I know all submitters are getting a fair read. If I had to read on the computer, I think some people who I read later in the group wouldn't get a fair reading b/c my eyes get so tired from reading on a screen.

Maybe one day, but for now, we'll still be accepting by snail mail.

As a poet, I'm happy with either way, though for awhile when I began submitting my work online I felt I was just sending it into the abyss. Plus, I hate it when formatting gets messed up.

But either way, I'm fine.

Frank (the Colt) said...

I like them in print, but I'm reading your blog on the computer, and would have it no other way. Hope the reading was awesome, sorry I could not make it.

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