Introducing Poetry Editor Theresa D. Smith

I sit at my desk and realize that I am completely surrounded by fiction writers. Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Visiting Writers Coordinator, Events Planner: all fiction writers. Dave Blomenberg and I are almost completely dependant on your submissions for our little shots of poetry. I know you’re kind people. Save us.

Before I came to sit at my desk at Sycamore Review and sense my utter helplessness without poetry submissions, I was in a desert-edge town in Southern California, working in Special Education, living in a post-Victorian house, walking many many dogs and helping my roommate break down a coffee house floor at night. Before that, I was at the University of Redlands getting my B.A. in Creative Writing with poets Joy Manesiotis and Ralph Angel. Now I’m three quarters of the way across the country pursuing my M.F.A. with Mary Leader, Marianne Boruch, and Don Platt, and staying up nights reading your poems. For the first time in my life I’ve seen fireflies and the most extraordinary shade of red in the trees. I’m glad to be here.

You might be wondering about my aesthetic. When I look at a poem I look for turns, darkness, tension, release, mystery, economy of language, the correct phrase or image. I love ecstatic as well as meditative poems. I crave clarity almost as much as I crave music. That said, my aesthetic is not the only one influencing what goes into our magazine, and Dave and I encourage our editorial staff to send any and all poems our way that they admire.

I look forward to the coming year. I expect my already outrageous chocolate addiction will become profound, and I imagine that I’m going to wind up memorizing a few shows that I keep on for background for my midnight to 4am reading and writing sessions. Courtesy of a childhood dodging unicycles and juggling pins in a family of nine, I have a high tolerance for chaos. So send me all your best stuff. And don’t forget about our Wabash Prize for Poetry, judged this year by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.