Letter from the (Ex) Editor

The crocuses are in bloom, the lambing season is here and Spilling Cocoa is at last emerging from its unintended hibernation. Back at the start of the year, I posted about this site’s imminent closure and asked if there was anyone out there who would consider taking over the editorship. I wasn’t particularly hopeful, but to my surprise and delight, such a person did come forward and I am very pleased to announce that the excellent Robert Garnham will be taking over with immediate effect (pause for round of applause).

So that’s it, basically. Thank you all for your submissions over the last not-quite-a-year. I think we’re building up quite an archive of good stuff here and long may it continue under Robert’s editorship. He’ll be opening up submissions again soon, but I’ll leave it up to him to decide when, and also what his editorial policy is going to look like. Exciting times.

Bye all,

Jonathan (ex-editor)

 

Letter from the Editor

Well, Happy New Year to all our contributors and readers. A new year is always a good time to reflect on how things are going and the unfortunate truth is that this place is not quite the vibrant hub that it almost was in the early days back in the first half of last year. The submissions have slowed to a trickle and the numbers of views of each poem posted have also dropped significantly.

If I were more of an editor by temperament, I might be tempted to saddle up and mount a big campaign that would drum up support (and maybe mix a few more metaphors into the bargain). However, one of the many valuable things I’ve learnt over the last nine months is that I’m not really an editor by temperament. At least, not of a poetry magazine. Also, if the truth were told, I have other projects for 2017 that are demanding my attention, and I need to focus.

So as of today:

  1. Submissions to SCOMA are closed.
  2. Submissions that have already been accepted will be published as promised, unless you would rather they weren’t – in which case please do get in touch.
  3. Unprocessed outstanding submissions will be processed as if nothing had happened, although – again – I will quite understand if you’d prefer to withdraw your work from submission.
  4. This site will remain as a monument to your excellent collective creative endeavours for the foreseeable future.

Apologies for the abruptness of this message. If there is anyone out there would who like to take up the reins as editor, please do let me know, as I really would like this thing we’ve all created to carry on in some form or another. The world needs humour more than ever.

All the best,

Jonathan

 

Letter from the Editor

Well.

When I first set this thing up, I had no idea if it would work or not. My initial plan was to, perhaps, publish a poem a week in the unlikely event that I got sent anything that was worth putting up. In the event, I was inundated with submissions, and most of them were of a very high quality indeed. It very quickly became clear to me that I could quite easily publish one a day and still maintain a pretty high level of quality. So that’s exactly what I did.

However.

We seem to have reached a point where the flood of submissions has slowed to a bit of a trickle. There’s still plenty of good stuff in the pipeline, but probably not enough to keep going at the present rate. There are any number of reasons why this may be so. It could be that everyone who originally submitted just had a couple of funny pieces lying around that they hadn’t found a home for. Or it could be that, having had one  acceptance from SCOMA, they felt they could tick that one off (I’ve done that myself in the past). Or perhaps they took a look at some of the other stuff I’ve picked and decided they didn’t fancy being associated with it. Or maybe they felt I was taking too long to respond to their submissions (I did change my target from a one month turnaround to three months in the guidelines, but I did it a bit sneakily without telling anyone). I dunno.

Whatever.

The long and the short is that I’m temporarily going to switch from publishing a poem every day to publishing twice a week, on Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays Fridays. If the floodgates suddenly open again, I’ll review and rethink. In the meantime, keep sending stuff in and keep reading, commenting and sharing.

Jonathan a.k.a. The Spillmaster

 

The Countdown Begins

And we’re almost ready to go. I spent this morning going through submissions and we seem to have a rather splendid and varied programme for you coming up, starting on May 1st. There will be free verse and rhymes, along with a triolet and a villanelle, and the whole spectrum of humour will be explored, including one or two of the dodgier fringes.

The standard of submissions was remarkably high and I had no problem in filling the schedule. It will, of course, be interesting to see if the readership of the site agree with me, and I shall be watching the star ratings with interest.

I hope that all the poets I suggested tweaks to will forgive my impudence. I did feel rather like Robert Webb’s character here at times:

See you all on Sunday.

Progress Report

Well, this is all very gratifying. We’ve been in business for less than a week and we already have a substantial number of excellent submissions. So here’s the plan. I’m going to start publishing poems on May 1st. On present form, it looks like we can afford to be a bit more ambitious than my original idea of a weekly poem and go for a daily poem instead. Some time next week I’ll take a look at what we’ve got and start sending out acceptances and rejections, before deciding on a running order.

One thing that has come up is the question of whether your editor is permitted to publish any of his own stuff here. I wasn’t intending to do so, because conventionally editors don’t do that. However, one or two people on Twitter suggested that I might put one or two up, just to give an idea of the kind of thing I’m looking for. I’d be interested to read anyone’s views on this.

Put the date in your diaries, anyway: Spilling Cocoa will go live on Sunday May 1st. Get ready with your Twitters and Facebooks!

And in the meantime, if there’s anything you fancy submitting, get in there now while there’s still room.

Letter from the Editor

A week or so ago I wrote a poem –  the first one I’d written for over a year, as it happens. Like most of my poems, it had a vaguely humorous slant, although – initially at least – it didn’t rhyme or have any sort of regular metre. Then I took a look at it and thought that a spot of rhyme and metre wouldn’t actually go amiss, and I came up with something that I felt worked pretty well. I could read that out in one of the local folk clubs where I sometimes bag a floor spot and it would probably get a few laughs.

But first, I thought it would be nice to get it published somewhere. I like having stuff published by someone else, because it means that I’ve managed to smuggle it past a gatekeeper. I know it’s not just me who thinks it has merit.

However, I struggled to think who might publish this one. The late, much-lamented Every Day Poets would certainly have given it consideration. The Pygmy Giant might also have taken a look, but they’re not taking poetry any more. But I couldn’t really think of anyone else.

Round about the same time, I was watching in admiration as Brian Bilston’s Unbound campaign was roaring to its triumphant end and I wondered which poetry magazine might have published his stuff. I’m not claiming any parity of talent, by the way – BB is, quite frankly, a God among poets. The only thing we have remotely in common is that (I think) we both prioritise humour in our work.

At this point, I was going to go off on a rant about how poetry (and, probably, the whole literary establishment) has a problem with humour, but I realised that I was going to end up exposing myself to endless arguments about the nature of comedy (“What about so-and-so? We published a comic poem by him once” “Well, I didn’t think it was funny”) and I had a life to get on with.

So.

TL;DR I’ve set up this new site as a place to publish humorous poetry. Read the guidelines and send me your best stuff. Then tell the whole world about it. This is just the beginning.

Jonathan Pinnock (ed)