Letter to the Editor

Dear Minnesota Review Editorial Staff,

My writing bears little resemblance to the glitterati featured in prominent journals, no matter what I do. As a teenager, I tried fad diets, cut out articles and prepositions. I thought I was making progress until I compared one of my drafts to the latest W.S. Merwin centerfold in The New Yorker. Merwin’s was six inches taller, lean and busty—with adjectives in all the right places, so to speak.

I’ve begun to think my poems just don’t have the right bone structure. But health comes in all shapes and sizes, and beauty is in the eye of the editor, as we all know, so, do you have any advice?

Obviously, fame and fortune aren’t goals of mine because, well, “famous poet” is an oxymoron. I just want to write good poems. But my poems don’t look like the ones in Best American Poetry, and I’m not so sure I want them to.

Thanks for your time.

Meaghan Russell, 1st year MFA

Hi Meaghan—

The editors here can certainly sympathize. First, let me say, you’re adorable. You “just want to write?” Well, I could just pinch your cheek.

Now, grow up, and let’s get serious.

Imagine that major journals publish only haiku. If you need publication credentials to support your career, you write haiku. If you don’t, you don’t. Maybe you make your living as a zookeeper and write as a hobby.

But either way, don’t whine about it. If monolithic media images are a problem for you, try reading international news reports instead. They’ll help you put this anorexic poetry problem in proper perspective.

Best of luck,

Meaghan Russell, Editorial Staff

Meaghan Russell was just startled by a boxelder that flipped from her poetry notebook, unfazed, and without comment. She wears boots.


2 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. To Meaghan Russell, Just like Picasso went through his blue and pink periods you as a poet need time to develop and change your style. Anything else would be artificial and imitative for you, best, Susie Reynolds

  2. Hi Susie,

    Thanks for the encouragement! You’re right.
    I didn’t mean to sound bitter or melodramatic. I was just poking fun at myself.
    Best wishes,

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