who watches channel zero?


My name is Clay McCann. Several years ago (2010) I submitted a few poems for consideration, one of which was selected for publication by your periodical. The poem is entitled “build me down just to tear me up: the Mary-Anne Apts.” I received a contract by mail and duly completed it before returning it by mail. Since that time I have heard nothing from your publication. Neither pay nor printing of the piece has materialised. Further, I have written (late 2011) to your publication regarding this matter and received no reply. As I turned down another publication (CV2) at the time of acceptance from yours (in hopes of expanding my publication portfolio) I am trebly unimpressed with CanLit.

If I hear nothing from you by Feb. 21st, 2012, I will begin to shop the piece around once more. As a UBC student myself–MA in Anthropology/Creative Writing, Okanagan Campus–I am confused by your lack of professionalism as well as seeming complete disregard for a contributing writer. I Intend to send copies of this email to Margery Fee (presumably–from your website–Editor, CanLit) and Dean (Arts) Gage Averill in hopes of spurring some semblance of response from your office.

What a curious fandango… I expected more from such a distinguished periodical.

Dear Clay:

I’m the current poetry editor and we were happy to accept your poem. There has been a delay in publication due to the guest editing of a special issue that required additional articles (as you know, we publish scholarly essays along with poetry). We are sorry. We try to publish 24 to 28 poems per year, divided into our quarterly issues, but I don’t have any control over the print publication timetable. Vetting the articles and assembling an issue is much more complicated than assembling the poetry. Your poem is in the queue and I hope to see it in print soon.

respectfully, Glenn Deer

Dear Clay:

We apologize for the delay and for not having the email below forwarded to you. I hit the “reply all” button and thought you had received the note in December, but it was sent back to the reviews office. I was the one who accepted your poem and I wanted to include it in the special “Poetics” issue, an issue which was delayed while the search for appropriate vetted articles and final assessment reports was ongoing. Now it seems that the issue is over length and we are still needing to shift some of the pages and poems. As you know, we are a quarterly but the timing of publication does depend on mustering the necessary number of accepted academic articles, with the poems then lining up in a queue.

If you would like to withdraw your poem at this point for a different venue, we will understand. We respect your feelings about this, though we have done our best to assemble the next issue in a timely manner. I personally really felt strongly about your poem (and lobbied for keeping it in the face of contrary opinions by our guest editors) and would still like to have the privilege of seeing it in print under our banner. As for payment, the practice has traditionally been to issue the cheque once the poem is in print.

Sincerely, Glenn Deer
Associate Editor (Poetry)
Canadian Literature


Thank you for responding. As perhaps you are aware, the CDN poetry biz can be tough on the ego and events in my relations with CanLit have made me feel less than under-appreciated. However, if I am to be circumspect, your response was respectful and illuminating of the trials of “build me down…”. Further, problems abound in all arenas of human activity–just look at this meandering e-mail for example. The poem may remain in-queue and I will continue to anticipate seeing it in your publication.

– Clay

Dear Clay:

Thanks very much for your patience and I would like to assure you that we really do appreciate your work — I am just as eager to see your poem in print as you are! I also appreciate that you have choices as a writer and your permission to have your work remain in our line-up means a lot to us.

As a sign of good faith, I would like to offer you a complimentary 2012 subscription to Canadian Literature. If you are interested you could simply forward your current mailing address to our Managing Editor, Donna Chin, , and she will ensure that the upcoming issues in 2012 are mailed to you.




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