Letter From the Poetry Editor’s Desk

Read the work. Forget the life.”—Samuel Beckett

A poet has a thought and births it into a poem. The poet shepherds the poem, editing, workshopping, growing and developing the poem. Some poems are written in a few minutes, executed by a novice or a master while other poems are labored over, a line added here, a semi-colon removed there, sometimes for years. Some work lives on a hard-drive or a bottom-most drawer, the poet satisfied with the work. More frequently, once the poet decides the work has reached maturation, it’s brushed up, put in its best format and sent out into the world for publication. And once chosen for publication, the poem ceases to belong only to the poet. Once published, the poet ceases to have complete authorial control over the work. Like a parent, their input is still significant, however, in the time when editors discuss and wrangle and examine a poem, the poet has no direct voice. The poem is subject to interpretation, to have its content and contexts probed, its referents pulled apart and then put back together again, judged with all the critical skill and analytical tools that the editors bring, and then a decision is made. Like the cheese, the poem stands alone, without authorial intent and hodge-podge, ossified, theories to distract the editors. And this process, like writing a poem, can be a process of minutes or days. And what of the poet? They are of course, being represented by the piece: rejection is still rejection, and publication is still validation. A joy of being an editor at Triggerfish is that, while I remember that there’s a real person at the end of every poem, our concern is their work. At the end of the day, at the end of every issue, the work is what matters.

 Enjoy Issue #3!




Brendan McEntee 


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