Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Eight, Summer 2005
Retiring Editor Jen Hawkins founded Arsenic Lobster in 2000. During her tenure, Jen was beloved by those who submitted poems. Even when rejected, her witty critique and accompanying commentary empowered writers. A rejection I received described my poem “as intense and cringe-worthy… heart-rending as anything I've read,” but added that my “stylized lack of articles… makes the poem seem clipped, strangely terse." Such adjectives inspired my continuing work on the poem and after some changes it was accepted; Sissy appears in Issue Six. As the new Editor, my hope is to continue Jen’s legacy and the dialogue between writer and editor which has become a Lobster hallmark.
Of course with a new editor comes new ideas, challenges and changes to the Lobster. Most obvious are the new online format, new publishing schedule and address—and sadly, for the present, I have had to revert to the use of the “dreaded, rejection form letter” until we address how the plentiful snail mail submissions are to be handled. An important change is the addition of other Lobster staffers. I am pleased to introduce the new Associate Editor Clarissa Jakobsons and webmaster George Pichowsky. Their addition to the staff will help to lighten my work, so I can spend more time with authors’ submissions.
For those readers interested in submitting poems to the Arsenic Lobster, there is a link to our submission guidelines. It may also prove helpful if I briefly explain my approach to the evaluation of submissions: First, I read the poem and if anything makes me gasp, gulp—choke—I set it aside. If on the following day I am still thinking about that line, moment or feeling, that poem is sure to be accepted. (I may request minor revisions from the author.) What kind of lines do I mean? For example, I can not forget the way loneliness and regret fastened to life in Reeves’ The Foothills. There are poems that open the window inside me—Layer’s The Price of Silence, Deserted, and Eden. I discovered unforgettable imagery: the starlings there/sounded like a train (Gallik), Before her mouth became a broken window (Kerschbaum), starfish/aching to blaze (Layer), the narrow lighthouse of my body (Alsop). Dark humor confronts truth in the journeys of humankind and our spirits: I Told the Slob He Was Slumbering (Gallik), Immortal Jack (Russel), Me and G-d at the sidewalk café (Krosinsky), This Way Out (Miller). Alsop’s narratives in The Butcher’s Wife and Savanna La Mar startle with honesty. I am thrilled by the irony of Camacho's Miss Lewinsky and still hold my breath till the end of McNall’s poem Walls.
As your new Editor, I consider myself your guide to the Arsenic Lobster, and would like to welcome you to our new issue. From all of us on the staff, we hope that you enjoy exploring Issue Eight as much as we have enjoyed putting it together!
Editor, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal
Lobster by Keith MorrisonAbout the Artist