Lessons from the Slush Pile

July 5, 2012

Photo Credit: MichaelFitz on Flickr

My first cover letters, when I began submitting poems to literary magazines in graduate school, could not have been more lifeless. Although I had been encouraged to personalize my letters by praising something specific from a recent issue, I felt awkward complimenting editors, as though I were trying to flatter my way into print. Instead, I kept my letters “professional,” which to me meant stripping them of personality. My thinking was that the work should speak for itself. Of course in a sense that is always true, but over time (particularly when I began working as an editor myself) I came to appreciate the value of letters that pair the professional with something more personal. Read more of George David Clark’s article about getting hired at The Chronicle. Photo by MichaelFitz

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