How Do I Choose?

I am blessed to have received a large number of Tarot poems. Thank you to everyone who submitted to the anthology! As I read through the submissions, I thought I’d share a little about my selection process for this book.

Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner and John Blumen

Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner and John Blumen

I want to create a diverse collection of 78 Tarot poems that sing in harmony. I’m only including poems that are clearly related to cards, imagery, and symbols from standard 78-card Tarot decks (not oracle decks).

Diversity is important to me. First of all, I want diversity of authors—poets whose names you know and poets you’ve never heard of. Because most Tarot readers are women, I expect to feature more female than male poets. Also, my publisher and I value highlighting the work of LGBT authors as well as underprivileged authors. The contributors are international, ethnically diverse, and diverse in age.

In addition to diversity of poets, I value diversity of the work itself. While I will include more than one poem about some cards (and some poems about multiple cards), I’m trying to find a balance of cards in this book. I believe one could make an entire anthology of poems about the Queens or The Fool, but I plan to show as much of the Tarot deck as possible.

And I care about diversity of form. I want readers to see the wide range of Tarot poetry out there—poems from the Oulipo school of thought, prose poems, sonnets, free verse, haikus, micropoetry, narrative verse, and more. This book is intended to be a survey of Tarot poetics.

To create a survey that entices the reader to seek out more work by their favorite contributors, I have been inspired by collections such as Tottel’s Miscellany, A.E. Waite’s anthology of English fairy poetry, some Norton anthologies, and a number of literary journals. I read and enjoy a wide variety of poetry (and prose). A few of my favorite poets are Patricia Smith, Shakespeare, Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, and John Keats.

What binds the poems I select—makes them sing in harmony—is quality. Much ink has been split over the question of what makes a good poem. I look for overwhelming beauty, a heightening of spirit, a filling of the heart, an expansion of the mind, and/or a burst of laughter. Simply put, I believe good poetry makes the reader think and/or feel something new. I dislike clichés and overwrought rhymes; I like original as well as simple phrases.

Frankly, I hate writing rejection letters. As someone who has received her fair share of them, I believe writing rejection letters is only slightly better than receiving them. Please know that if your poem isn’t selected, there may still be a home out there for it.

Again, I am honored that so many people have given me permission to read their work. I hope to release a full contributor list by the end of the year.