Under the Bashō is a unique, online journal. Submissions begin in March and end toward the final months of the year. If someone is turned down for a division, they are allowed to submit again. This requires a ton of work from our editors but also gives them an opportunity to see a lot of poetry, personal styles, and voices from around the world. It gives them a chance to select the best!
Our goal is not to reject but, rather, to discover excellent poetry and produce it without bias. Our goal is to remain humble, inclusive, and open minded. We're not looking to be difficult; in fact, we're looking to remain accessible and easy to work with. This stance, of course, doesn't imply that we accept "just anything." We clearly do not.
While I or one of our talented editors may make some edit suggestions (usually due to English language translation issues), we attempt to see what the poet is getting at — us bending to the words (as it should be) rather than the words bending to us and our editing.
So, it isn't whether a poem works or not; who is the final judge? Our thoughts are, rather, is it possible that the poem works and what kind of reader might it appeal to? This is important. The poem is a voice. Who is to say that it is good or bad? That isn't a distinction that is easy to make. Does it resonate with the editor at hand? Possibly, but if it doesn't, is it a bad poem? Not at all! It’s a choice that we, and all editors must make.
Please, send us what you consider your best work. Let us ponder it and see how it sits with UtB. Try not to workshop it to death to where your poem is nearly unrecognizable compared to its original version. Work on it; dream about it; revise it; and continue to do so for years to come -- and maybe you will finish one poem the way you would really like to see it. A poet must have her/his own voice; hopefully, one that rings through the cacophony of haiku written around the globe. Don't take short cuts -- keep writing -- keep pondering -- let it unfold through you, from your wild space of dream room -- and let the poem be yours -- completely.
Finally, we do decline haiku. It happens. At that point, our editors have done the best they can to evaluate how the poem will sit with Under the Bashō. If declined, ponder, read, and submit more poems to us in the future. Discover unique ways to write about old topics -- a billion haiku have been written, yet there remains an eternity of room for new and fresh haiku voices. Let one of those voices be you.
peace and blessings,