An Open Letter from the Editor

Updated December, 2019

Dear Poet,

Thank you for submitting a manuscript to Copper Canyon Press.

I would like to acknowledge that it is a brave and vulnerable act to submit a manuscript to strangers for consideration. We count your submission as a vote of confidence in the work we do as a nonprofit publisher of poetry. We see the exchange of work—the reading of manuscripts and books—as a transformative process for all who care deeply about poetry: writer, reader, and publisher. Through your poems you are transforming our personal and professional lives and we are grateful for that engagement.

Several years ago we were facing a serious concern here at the Press: although we were committed to maintaining a policy of reading unsolicited manuscript submissions, we simply had neither the staffing nor the organizational structure to sustain attention to the constant flow of manuscripts we were receiving at the time. We were facing the possibility of no longer being able to accept submissions. After 40 years of publishing books that came in over the transom, we were concerned that making such a change might jeopardize a highly valued tradition of inclusion and discovery. Instead of turning in that direction, we developed our current open reading period system and online submissions method. Your participation has made this an energizing and rewarding experience for us as editors and publishers, as we developed this new way of acquiring books. Our editors and editorial assistants have read, reread, discussed, and responded to each and every submission. Out in the main room of our offices, over the phone, and in late-night emails, enthusiastic conversations regularly break out as we engage with our consideration of individual manuscripts. The work is enlivening. It is an extreme honor to have your poems be a part of our lives.

What we’ve learned beyond measure is that there is an exceptionally high quality of poetry being written in America today. Out of thousands of manuscripts submitted through our online system since 2012, we have published indelible works including:

In addition to the books that we select for publication, from time to time we may express serious interest in a manuscript pending revision; in such a case, the author or translator will be contacted personally by a member of our editorial team.

I hope that as our open submissions program continues to evolve, we will improve our capacity to say “yes” to ever more poets. Toward this goal, the editors and editorial assistants at Copper Canyon Press will continue to read and consider manuscripts throughout most of the year, taking breaks between reading periods to catch up and catch our breaths. (Yes, we expect you to take our breath away.)

Thank you, once again, for your engagement with Copper Canyon Press.

In poetry,

Michael Wiegers
Editor-in-Chief, Copper Canyon Press

PS: We would love it if you’d keep in touch. In fact, if the manuscript you submitted to us gets accepted elsewhere, please contact us so we can spread the good news!