9. What separates the manuscripts that get marked for further reading from the ones that do not? Craft. Ideas. Resonance. Control. Authority of voice. Whether or not the work is “memorable.” And more often than you might think, the consistency of the work across the manuscript. Many, if not most manuscripts have several fabulous poems. Few manuscripts are made entirely of fabulous poems. Which is just one reason why I encourage submitters to enter manuscripts of around 50-64 pages. I would venture to say that in every contest submission period there are always two or three hundred manuscripts by poets to be reckoned with.
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