opening to stories and artwork

PIL is now accepting submissions of short stories and photography/artwork.  yes, i’m excited about it too.

as of now there aren’t any length restrictions on short stories, as i do not feel that they are beneficial to the artist, and merely serve to satisfy space restrictions.  we do not yet have space restrictions (another benefit of publishing for free online)

updated guidelines can be found on the appropriate page.

also, happy new year!

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PIL has moved

alas, the time has come for PIL to make its move to the free world.  therefore, from now on, the litmag will be located here.

the january 14, 2011 issue will NOT be up, as financial problems have presented us from accessing email for some time.

keep writing, friends.

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we’re closing to submissions for the july 14 issue today.  if we have less poems to put in than i thought, this may change.  but it seems like a good forward move.

onward and upward!  time to make the mag!

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everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

is not on this blog.  however, i found a really lovely article that seems to address most of the issues that i as an editor see with many submissions.  you may read the article here.

it’s may already.  that means july is just around the corner.  i had better get to work.  keep sending those submissions.

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the editor’s pledge

poets always want to know what it is that gets a poem accepted.  the most honest answer i can think of to this is that a poem is accepted based on an editor’s general temperament.  originally, literary magazines were staffed with people with PhDs in english or literature or what have you and therefore they Knew What Was Good Writing and were qualified to judge it.  in college litmags the staffers are students who are (theoretically) still learning what Is Good Writing and still read under the tutelage of a senior editor who Knows For Sure.  then there were the poetry magazines started by the poets.  and now there are litmags all over the damn placed staffed by any number of people from any number of backgrounds.  so i think that, providing you are not submitting to someplace long-standing and constipated like the New Yorker, you can owe a rejection of a good poem to the editor’s temperament.

therefore, i have taken to wondering what influences my “temperament” and indeed many people have received rejections from me requesting that they submit again.  while i can’t define what my preferences ARE, i can define, for myself, what should not influence my judgement of poetry.  i present to you, then, my editor’s pledge.

as the editor of PIL:

  • i pledge not to read submissions when i am depressed, because i know that if i do this my foul mood colors every poem and makes it ugly.
  • i pledge not to read submissions when i am drinking, because i know that if i do this my intoxication colors every poem and makes it look better than it is.
  • i pledge not to read submissions when i have something else nagging away at me, because i know if i do this i will rush through submissions and probably not read them thoroughly.  this “something else” applies to writing, chores, homework, a waiting bowel movement, or drum practice.
  • on the same note, i pledge not to ignore submissions simply because 100 unimportant things are nagging away at me.  these “unimportant things” include dirty dishes, half-finished crochet projects, the plaintive cries of an obese cat who would prefer to eat inside rather than out despite the fact that his food is outside, studying for tests, hemming curtains, eating dinner, and gathering up wayward diet coke cans around the house.
  • i pledge to read each submission thoroughly, even if the poem falls under the “things we don’t publish” as listed in the second issue.
  • i pledge to respond to all submissions, even if it takes 1,000 years as was the case with the paper ones, which are all up to date now, thankfully.

can you think of anything to add?

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“you may not understand my poem”

today i received yet ANOTHER submission from someone who told us, in hisher cover letter, that i “may not understand [hisher] poem, but…”  whenever i read something like this i have an urge to slap my own face.  it all comes with the territory of being an editor, but telling an editor that they might not understand your work is GODAWFULLY PRETENTIOUS AND OFF-PUTTING.  a few points.

  1. saying an editor may not understand your poem is unnecessary.  it is like giving an art show and warning each person at the door that they may not understand your paintings.  in the plebe world it is like giving someone a massage and telling them they may not understand the happy ending.  maybe in highbrow writing schools there is someone who tells poets that their poems must be entirely comprehensible to be good and these poets who include this in their cover letters are in rebellion against them.  i don’t know.  i don’t care.  i’m just saying: you don’t need to say it.
  2. one of the reasons you don’t need to say it is that any poet who goes out of hisher way to tell someone hisher poem might not be understandable is because a.) heshe has already had an averse reaction to the poem or b.) heshe deliberately made it incomprehensible.

    a.) is far less likely, but is impossible to tell until one reads the poem.  in this case, i tell the poet, grow some nuts and keep submitting- most people don’t get poetry to begin with, and that is why poets starve, because poetry books are not Jackie Collins bestsellers.

    b.) is far more likely, and this disturbs me.  making your poem deliberately incomprehensible is both annoying and the mark of an amateur.  there’s plenty of room for mystery in poetry.  the conciseness of a poem is, in itself, one way to shroud something in such a manner.  but by having the goal of writing an incomprehensible poem in mind when you start to write a poem, you are not even writing bad poetry- you are writing no poetry at all.

  3. last, but not least, truly good poetry stands on its own, no matter how many of its themes or words are unrecognizable to the reader.  when i first read “epithalamion” by e.e. cummings, i was dazzled by it, despite not knowing what words like “chryselephantine” meant.  since i am a good reader, i looked it up.  that is what a person is supposed to do if they do not know what something means.  a good poet supposes this, and with good reason.  heshe writes hisher poem freely, without taking into account the audience.  the poet who engages in #2 on this list is thinking only of befuddling hisher audience and therefore not writing freely.

i will sum up this entry with a quote my father likes to throw around: “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”  in our case, if you can’t dazzle us with brilliance, keep your bullshit to yourself.

cheers, and i hope everyone is having a lovely spring.

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free shipping

lulu emailed us to let us know this:

“Free Shipping Coupon
Receive a $3.99 credit towards your order

Enter code FREEMAIL305 on checkout
Offer ends 5/1/10
Self-purchases of your own content are not eligible.”

well thanks lulu.  we didn’t want to read the damn thing anyway.

anyhow, shipping at lulu is pants-on-head retarded, so if you have been putting off ordering a copy of PIL due to shipping, now would be a good time to use the coupon.  cheers.

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we’re still here!

and we’re still accepting your submissions.

since we only publish twice a year, the first few months after an issue comes out are usually pretty slow.  putting an issue together is a complicated thing, and after that we just prefer to breathe.  however, it’s nearly april, and after april may and then june and then july- deborah’s birthday and issue #4.

we’re now emailing you once we receive submissions.  because we check email somewhat irregularly, it may be some time before you receive a response, but you’ll get one, just to let you know we got your submission.

happy spring everyone.

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humps and bumps

after a few problems the new issue seems to have come out smoothly.  there will be an updated version with the correct formatting of rupert pupkin’s poems up soon, hopefully tomorrow.  i have just started both school and a new job AND have been floored with nausea the past couple of days so i have been fuera de servicio.

overall, however, the response has been good.  please post a comment here or email me at with feedback, for example if you detest lulu, or if you think it looks great, etc.  you can also use the “comments” tab on the website.


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issue #3 is here!

you may view it at

click on the “current and archives” tab to download a free PDF or buy the paper version.

if you want one, it’s worth it.  lulu dicks you around with shipping, but the final product is so beautiful.

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