Letters to the Editors, December, 2013


To the Editors,
I have just read Polina Barskova’s poem MANUSCRIPT FOUND BY NATASHA ROSKOVA DURING THE FIRE in B O D Y. I find it very difficult to put into words what this poem means to me. Suffice to say, I have printed it and blu-tacked it to the wall next to my bedroom mirror, and there it shall stay.

Thank you for bringing writers like Ms. Barskova to a wider audience.

K. Fenwick

To the Editors,
I find your reply [letter of rejectioneditor] puzzling. Firstly, for its poor grammar (which I’ll get to later), but more importantly in your use of the phrase “right fit.”

Your editorial team is remiss in its mission to publish fiction/poetry/criticism if it refuses a piece based on “right fit”(ness) when, by your own short-order guidelines, you state “BODY [sic] is always looking for engaging prose” and thus proceed to reject prose that is engaging. However, you’re the editors, so I must always defer to your judgment, all things being equal.

But, of course, all things are not equal, as we well know. This being the case, could you’d [sic] please tell me what are the definitions of “right fit” and “engaging prose”?

If, by non-engaging prose, you rejected my novel excerpt from “Max, the blind guy” on the basis of its first sentence — “The first time Maxwell Ruth heard the accolade — ‘That guy is a dedicated pussy hound!’ — his wife was standing three feet away.” — I think we could have a quality discussion on the point of what is and is not “engaging prose.” We could also talk about story, character, dialogue, place, movement, and (last but not least) imagery.

If we were to talk about those key elements to any story, then I would wonder why you have published Mathew Allan Garcia’s LITTLE GODS — a story that offers only internal monologue which wraps around itself (and gets lost doing even that!) while giving the reader (1) NO sense of place, (2) NO story progression, (3) NO character (other than an unknown voice), and (4) almost NO imagery one can take hold of for more than a few seconds — at which time its following sentence goes off toward yet another self-indulgent rant.

If by “right fit” you mean Damien Ober’s short-short fiction THE ARC OF THE BLACK HOLE, then you certainly have hit on something. He can write a good sentence. I get this editorial decision. Yet perhaps you should have stated that you’re looking for fiction under 500 words.

If also by “right fit” you mean Tomáš Zmeškal’s VISION OF HITLER then you might have requested “Prose that is mostly dialogue” and you’d still be within your limits.

Do you see where I’m coming from? I’ll be even more blunt: if you didn’t like my fiction, just have the guts to say so; the “right fit” phrase has no meaning when you haven’t given the criteria for the type of fiction which falls into your “Johnny Bravo” suit. You’re the editors; you should know what’s best for your magazine. But do you know what’s best for your readers?

Finally, the grammar question: “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your work. Unfortunately this submission wasn’t the right fit for B O D Y.”

When you use the progressive tense in the first sentence, the second sentence must be given in the present tense; by saying my fiction “wasn’t the right fit” you have said that it HAD run in the magazine, but, on retrospect, you changed your mind about just what “fit” it made to the overall feel for that issue.

Of course, you are the editors, and I must defer to your decision. Good luck with your magazine.


Mark Beyer
Prague, Czech Republic

To the Editors,
thanks for the short story MY FLIGHT TO MALAYSIA by Valery Ronshin. I have a weakness for the absurd and this story is very funny indeed, quite similar to the style of Ronshin’s compatriot, Daniil Kharms. The irreverence and lack of fear in Ronshin’s story is utterly refreshing.
R F. Wilson
Vancouver, Canada


B O D Y welcomes letters from our readers. Please send letters to editor@bodyliterature.com.uvirt123.active24.cz. Letters may be published in full or in part, and quoted by name unless otherwise stipulated.