Welcome to Remixt Volume 1. This magazine was conceived as an experiment to show how editorial tastes and styles vary even when a larger group of editors is working from the same submissions pool.
I wanted to give my students in a writing and editing workshop an inside perspective on how editors think, and I wanted to be transparent about the process for the general public, since the question of how editors think is one I hear often. I also often see people advising writers that if they just write and submit enough, they will most likely eventually find an editor who wants to buy something they’ve written. I think this is true. Practice hones creative craft, and past a certain level of competence, a lot of whether a piece gets accepted comes down to editorial taste and other factors like whether the piece fits with the theme or mood of what the editor is curating, or how it balances with other pieces the editor wishes to accept.
With Remixt, the concept is to have group of editors all in charge of their own issues of the magazine, but drawing their material from the same pool of submissions. There are 9 issues in this volume, and at the end of every page in the volume, you will find a link to the table of contents for easier navigation of the whole.
For Volume 1 there was no limit on the editorial vision—editors were free to create a theme or mood of their choice, and we deliberately made the submissions call open to all styles and genres of poetry.
I was very interested to see whether some poems would be chosen multiple times, and I was fascinated to see that this group of nine editors had very little overlap, and also how the overlapping choices shaped up.
There are 9 issues containing 3 poems each in Remixt Volume 1, meaning that the most unique authors Volume 1 could possibly publish would be 27 (if there was no overlap between editors), and fewest would be 3 (if every editor chose the same authors and poems). In the end the 9 editors of Remixt Volume 1 chose 24 unique authors. 21 poems were chosen once, and 3 were chosen twice. Although authors were invited to submit up to 3 poems, no author had more than 1 poem chosen. The authors that were published twice had the same poem in both issues.
The Remixt editors read the submissions with no identifying information about the authors, and made their decisions before learning the names of authors whose pieces they had chosen to accept. As the publisher, I sent all of the administrative emails, including all responses to submissions, so the 9 editors still don’t know the names of the authors whose work they didn’t accept.
I tried to compile some statistics about our submitters based on identifying information in cover letters and bios because this sort of information can be interesting to have, but we must all realize that there is a lot of room for error in these stats.
Of the 24 unique authors our editors selected for publication, as far as we know:
14 were female (59%)
8 were male (33%)
2 were non-binary (8%)
3 were POC (12%)
3 sent submissions from outside the US (12%)
2 were Jewish (8%)
1 was disabled (4%)
1 was queer (4%)
The 3 poems that got chosen twice were by 2 women and 1 man. One of the women was Jewish, the man was a queer, disabled, mixed race POC. As far as we know, there were two other POC in the group of 24 (Filipino/Cherokee, Cherokee/African-American, and Mexican/Palestinian) for a total of 3, or 12% of our total authors—not a high number. There were also 3 accepted authors whose submissions came from outside the US— 1 from Australia, 1 from Finland and 1 from Bulgaria. This means we had 12% international authors. In addition, 1 author was Canadian but living in the US.
We made a point of asking for submissions from underrepresented groups in our call, but it’s unclear how many of our submitters came from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds.
Here’s how it breaks down based on identifying info in cover letters and author bios (which means we absolutely are likely to be missing some people who may fit into one or more of these groups):
As far as we could tell, out of 172 authors, 99 were women, 62 were men, 4 were non-binary, and 7 did not indicate a gender identity.
31 of the 172 submissions (18%) came from countries other than the US. Most of these were from the UK and Canada, but there were some from other places, including India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Australia, and China. Our editors chose 3 non-US based poets for 12% of the final author roster, but we did note and discuss the fact that none of our non-US poets came from non-English-speaking or European countries, which is a shame.
27 of the 172 submissions (16%) came from people of color. Again, our editors chose three of these poets for 12% of our final author roster.
6 of the 172 submissions (3%) came from people who identified as queer in their bios or cover letters. Our editors chose 1 of these poets for 4% of our final roster.
5 of the 172 submissions (3%) came from people who identified as Jewish in their bios or cover letters. Our editors chose 2 of these poets for 8% of our final author roster.
4 of the 172 submissions (2%) came from people who identified as disabled in their bios or cover letters. Our editors chose one of these poets for a final total of 4% of our author roster.
This statistics tracking is haphazard at best, but one thing we noticed and flagged as a problem after all the selections had been made was that the editors not knowing the backgrounds of the submitters may have made them less likely to take a poem than they otherwise would. There were some cases in which editors may have felt that poems were powerful, but only if they were coming from a person who identified from within a specific marginalized group. Because of the way we handled the submissions this time, our editors had no idea who the poems were coming from, but in the future, editors will probably have some more identifying information even if they don’t know the names of the submitters.
There were many submissions that were very good, but didn’t get chosen for publication. Several editors lamented their inability to select more than three pieces. The variety of poems chosen did seem to confirm the idea that editorial tastes vary widely and to some extent getting published is a matter of persistence and the luck of finding your way into the right submissions pile on the right day. I think everyone involved in Remixt Volume 1 found this a rewarding experience, and I’ll be interested to see what happens in the future if we carry out further experiments for new volumes.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who submitted. We appreciated the chance to read your words. And thanks to everyone who shared the submissions call, too. We were delighted to receive so many poems.
I hope you will enjoy reading our final selections.
Publisher, Remixt Magazine