Dear Poetry Editor

Em Salgado

On perspectives about poetry

A lot of people, I have found, think poetry is all about pretty language. Poetry is more than just sounding pretty, it’s about how it makes you feel; how it portrays the world, or an emotion, or a scene, in a way only the poet can portray it. It’s an expression unto itself. And I do think the literary community sometimes overlooks that as well. If your poetry does not move you, does not stir something within you, then it is lacking what makes it poetry, as opposed to words in a poetry format. Flowery language, clever turns of phrase, or loud anger only go so far with poetry.

On poetry

I look for poetry that is at once beautiful and telling. If you’re not saying anything, I’m not interested. I’m not crazy about angry poetry unless you’re Sam Sax or Gaunte. I’m not interested in love poems unless you’re Andrea Gibson or Shane Koyczan. What I am interested in, are poems that are usually darker, a bit cryptic, and full of that emotion and ability to stir something within me as mentioned above, while also taking me somewhere. Bring me into your world, your body, your head.

On publishing

Some people criticize us for focusing on diversity as heavily as we do. We’ve been called all sorts of names for this. But to those who actually read what we’re putting out, the perception is probably that we’re a bit left of center. We look for things that aren’t mainstream. The weird, the dark, the forgotten, the unique. We’re looking for diversity and flavor and I think that shows.

On regret

I think it is less that I wish I hadn’t published something, and more that I wonder if I am qualified to select pieces to publish. Some days I feel like a hack and worry that it shows in my selections. This is more a reflection on me, rather than the poetry selected. I am very proud of all of the poetry I have chosen for Polychrome Ink.

Em Salgado is a genderqueer bisexual person of Salvadorian and German decent. Professionally, Em is the Executive Editor and head Poetry Editor for Polychrome Ink. When not editing, Em is writing, reading, or playing MMORPGs.

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