January 2021 was our first open submission call. Because this was the first I had no idea what to expect – would we receive 10 manuscripts or 100? I am quite pleased that we received 88 manuscripts which seems like a great start for a new press.
I started reading the manuscripts as soon as they came in, reading at least one each night and dedicating several hours each weekend to this task. One of my goals was to get through them as quickly as possible and to provide responses, whether rejections or the exciting news that a poet made the longlist, as soon as possible. As a poet myself I know the agony of waiting for response from a press and while I understand it takes time to read a manuscript, my goal was to respond as quickly as I was able. It also helped that I took a few days leave during the month to focus on the manuscripts.
At the end of reading all 88 manuscripts I have selected 6 poets for the longlist, they are as follows:
Now begins the hard part – choosing among these excellent manuscripts. I’ll be rereading them over the next couple of weeks, sitting with their words and making very hard decisions. I intend to announce the winners by the end of February. Stay tuned!