Our second installment of "Five Questions for an Editor" is with Sandy Benitez, founder and editor both of the new Cherry Blossom Review and the more-established Flutter Press. Let's see what she has to say...
1. As we discussed earlier, our readerships (and editorial tastes) are probably a little different. What "makes" a poem for you?
For me, a great poem is one filled with unique imagery and skillful use of metaphor. I'm all about the details in a poem that make it unique and subsequently invites me into the poet's world, experiences, perceptions, etc...
2. When, in your opinion, should a writer choose to use the haiku form?
I'm not an expert on the haiku form but I thought it would be nice to incorporate a different style of writing into Cherry Blossom Review besides the usual free verse or prose poem. Unfortunately, the inaugural issue won't contain any haiku but I'm always on the lookout for one that makes me sit back and say, Wow! There is no right time to write haiku. It's more a mood thing really. If someone has something to say but doesn't feel like writing a 5-stanza poem, sometimes it's just easier to say it in a few simple lines.
3. Cherry Blossom Review, like High Coup Journal, is pretty new. What motivated you to start your own journal?
The journal is new but it's not my first venture into running a poetry journal. I was the founder and editor of two previous journals, Flutter Poetry Journal and Menagerie. They were both extremely successful but felt they ran their course and it was time to delve into something simpler and easier to manage while still providing quality poetry. I'm already amazed at the number of poets and readers who have joined Cherry Blossom Review as members, it's remarkable and motivates me to keep going forward.
4. Are the titular cherry blossoms a Japanese scent, or do they represent something else?
I love the scent of cherry blossoms, it's actually one of my favorites. It's a nice, soft fragrance that doesn't overwhelm your senses. They also represent serenity and fragility because the blossoms look so delicate.
5. What advice do you have for people who have considered trying to get published but haven't yet made the leap?
I would tell them to be fearless and just go for it. If you know in your heart that poetry strikes a passion in you and you want your voice to be heard, then do it. The worst that can happen is that you'll get a rejection or two, or three and most likely more but that happens to every writer once in a while. Yes, rejections are hard to take but it comes with the territory. Just don't give up. On the other hand, please don't send one editor a batch of poems one after the other, give it some time, please! We are human beings too with our own lives and daily grinds to drive us crazy.
SANDY BENITEZ is the author of Ever Violet, a full-length collection of poetry (D-N Publishing, 2007). She has authored three chapbooks: Beneath a Black Pearl Sky (Flutter Press, 2009), The Lollipop Club (Victorian Violet Press, 2010), and Petal Storm (Flutter Press, 2010). Sandy's work also appears in two anthologies: Lilith: A Collection of Women's Writes and Postcards from Eve, (both Fortunate Childe Publications). She is also the Founder & Editor of Cherry Blossom Review and Flutter Press. Sandy's poetry has appeared in over 100 print and online poetry journals. She currently resides in Wyoming with her husband, 2 children, and 2 chocolate labs.