A poet's hope: to be like some valley cheese, local, but prized everywhere.
—W. H. Auden
Poems to Windfall
is looking for poems of place, specifically places in the Pacific Northwest
(defined as a broad bioregion extending from the North Slope of Alaska
to the Bay Area of California, and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific
Coast). Place can be named or unnamed, but if unnamed, then location
should be clearly implied or suggested by observed detail. The poet
does not have to be living in the Pacific Northwest, but the poem does.
Place, whether background or foreground, should be essential to the
meaning of the poem. Place should be vital in the development of the
poem, or the speaker’s perspective, or the texture of image and
detail. Simply attaching a place name to a generic poem of place will
not do. Windfall favors poetry of observed detail that is informed and
accurate, even when it is conflicted about what constitutes informed
and accurate detail. Place to us is not a general metaphor (“where
you are at”), but first of all, actual. As Ezra Pound once said,
“The natural object is always the adequate symbol.”
Windfall regards the term “place” as inclusive of both urban
and natural locales, peopled or unpeopled. If many of the poems we publish
reflect more of nature than the city, this reflects the poetry we receive,
rather than any bias of our own. Most places have been affected in many
ways by human presence, and poems can reflect this. Within the broad
parameters described above, we tend to let the poems submitted teach
us what place is or may mean in poetry.
Since we look for informed and accurate detail, it follows that we favor
poetry based on imagery derived from sensory observation of surfaces,
which, as one writer said, is the only way we have to come to know the
depths. While language as the medium of poetry is an important consideration,
Windfall favors poetry that is about something other than itself or
its language. A poetry of place is another way of expressing love of
the world and of being in the world, perhaps the fundamental motive
and experience of art.
Windfall also favors poetry that occurs in lines and stanzas, mainly
because they tend to be more interesting. Lines and stanzas generate
energy and opportunities for parallelism and complexity that may often
be missing in columns of lines and prose poems. “Lines and stanzas”
does not here mean “meter and rhyme.” We have nothing against
meter and rhyme, and have in fact published several sonnets. Rather,
we advocate a different dispensation, as old as orality, wherein poetry
was organized by the content of its themes, figures, imagery, and perspective,
rather than by formalized rhythm and sound (with which, as Robert Bringhurst
says, poets began to “farm” language in neat rows). We have
published the occasional column of lines and the occasional prose poem,
when these reflect place well, which is our first consideration. But
lines and stanzas mean the poet is inviting us to use our inferential
powers, to be active readers, and this is what we look for.
More about poetry of place can be found in the Afterwords written by
the editors for every issue. These short essays attempt to indicate
past traditions, further readings, and a variety of perspectives on
what might constitute poetry of place. They are not prescriptive of
any approach, but are meant to suggest and inspire the writing of poems.
All Afterwords may be downloaded from the Windfall web site: <http://www.windfalljournal.com>.
Windfall accepts only work that has not been previously published. If
a poem has appeared in another periodical or book, then it has already
found readers, and we would rather provide opportunity for new work
to be read. Though you may have already published a poem of place that
would be perfect for Windfall, keep in mind Jack Spicer’s admonition:
“There are always plenty of poems.” Place, fully conceived,
is an inexhaustible source.
Submissions of up to five short poems (not exceeding fifty lines each) may be submitted online by sending them as a single MS Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Poems should be separated by an inserted page break (not a series of returns), and name, postal address, and e-mail address should appear on every page.
Submissions sent by US Mail should include a self-addressed return envelope with first-class postage and an e-mail address. As with e-mail submissions, poems should be separated by an inserted page break, and name, postal address, and e-mail address should appear on every page. Send hard-copy submissions to Editors, Windfall Press, PO Box 19751, Portland, OR 97280.
- Deadline for submissions to the fall issue: August 1.
- Submission period for the fall issue: May, June, July
- Deadline for submissions to the spring issue: February 1
- Submission period for the spring issue: November, December, January
It’s best to send poems close to the deadline for the particular issue of Windfall you are submitting for since we make no editorial decisions until after the deadline. Better the poems should stay with
you for further revision till close to the deadline, for, as Paul Valery said, “A poem is
never finished, only abandoned.”
Payment in copies only.
Questions? Write to <email@example.com>.