Rockvale Review is a new online poetry journal, currently open for submissions. They seek to publish new, emerging, and established poets in all forms and subject matters.
I wondered how and why this journal came to be, so I asked Editor-in-Chief Sandy Coomer a few questions to find out. See my interview with Coomer and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Rockvale Review.
COOMER: Rockvale Review is an online poetry journal. We publish only poetry right now, though at some point in the future we’d love to publish visual art and reviews of poetry books. Our editors are published poets with strong backgrounds in writing, teaching, editing, and journalism. But that’s not all we are. Among us, we have athletes, musicians, artists, hikers, mentors, seamstresses, cooks, adventurers, and readers. We are a varied group, but what ties us together is our love of words. We believe the world needs more voices to speak beauty, acceptance, kindness, challenge, and love. We believe poetry is one venue that can accomplish that. We are here to support poets of all backgrounds and creeds, to give them a platform to speak and share what’s important to them, to open another door of belonging in a world that is sometimes harsh and scary.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Rockvale Review originally started?
COOMER: Rockvale is a small community in middle Tennessee. My husband and I almost bought a house and land here, but alas, they didn’t take our offer. I fell for the name Rockvale though, and thought it would be a great name for a poetry journal. I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of rock (hard, solid, strong, bold) and vale (soft, welcoming, vulnerable). Because I get mushy over poetic sound and the alliteration in Rockvale Review is just too perfect, I knew one day I wanted to create an online journal with that name in which poetry is the main focus. Five years later, here we are. There are a lot of online poetry journals out there, but there are even more poets. My goal is for Rockvale Review to be a journal of beauty and acceptance, with enough challenge and danger within the poems to keep it interesting. When you start something like this, you are throwing your dream to the winds and waiting to see where it will go. I have a good feeling that with these editors, this journal can do good work.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
COOMER: We welcome all kinds of poetry, from form poetry to free verse. We’re not too keen on greeting card verse or song lyrics, nor poetry that is overtly political, sexual, or discriminatory. We are looking for strong image-driven language that speaks a solid truth and doesn’t shy away from risk. We want to be surprised and delighted. We want poems that are as hard and strong as rocks and as delicate and open as a vale. We want poems that seem to know where they are going, then end up somewhere completely different because that’s the place they were meant to go from the start. We want confidence and vulnerability, focus and flight. We want our poets to feel like they’ve found a home when they see their poems on our site.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
COOMER: I’m totally in love with Hypertrophic Literary Magazine. I also have a fondness for River Styx, Beloit Poetry Journal, Now and Then – The Appalachian Magazine, Rattle, The Sun, Oxford American, The Southeast Review, Big Muddy, and Smartish Pace.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
COOMER: Poets can find us online at rockvalereview.com. We have a submissions page that clearly lists our submission requirements. We use Submittable, so just click on the link and fill out the form, add a file, and you’re good to go. By the way, we read blind and are mostly interested in the quality of the work sent to us, not on past achievements. We have a staff of 5 editors. Submissions will be read by 3 of the 5 for the first round. Acceptances are read and agreed upon by all 5 of us.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
COOMER: We have a contact form on our website that is regularly checked. You can also send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEADLINE: September 30, 2017
SUBMISSION FEE: None
NOTES: “Please don’t send song lyrics and greeting card lines. Don’t send poems with explicit language, or poems that are overtly political, sexual, or discriminatory. It is unlikely that we will publish rhyming verse.”
Categories: Call for Submissions