I think this all the more valuable for poets because it seems that in MFA programs, for every one prose writer, there are at least half a dozen eager poets, all competing for those same magazine slots against all the other MFA authors, teachers, etc. I'm going to challenge Kardos, and argue that for poetry--good poetry--it's still only a 1% chance that a good poem makes it into a magazine. This seems to be true from my editorial experiences, but also acknowledges what many of the entries in Poet's Market write.
If I'm doing my math right, it'll look like this:
.99x = .01
log (.99)x = log (.01)
X log (.99) = log (.01)
X log (.99)/log (.99) = log (.01)/log (.99)
log (.99) log (.99)
X = log (.01)/log (.99)
X = 458.2 submissions
I'll round it down to 458, just to be optimistic, but assuming that there's a three month response time, and that most academic magazines only accept submissions within a semester, we're looking at 229 YEARS before a poem would be accepted. If we assume a three month response time, average, and find magazines continually that accept during Summer months, it's only 114 or so years--FOR ONE POEM TO GUARANTEE ACCEPTANCE!
I don't even know if there are this many academic magazines in the world, but the options seem pretty straight forward:
- Write the best damn poems you can, and pray
- Ignore academia and go the indie route, which may or may not affect your potential career as a poet
- Simultaneously submit anyway, and hope you don't shoot yourself in the foot
- Submit to only those magazines that accept simultaneous submissions, and pray
Anyway, it'd be interesting to hear your thoughts on this idea.