As you might expect, we editors read a great deal of poetry looking for work that is right for our pages. Poems catch our attention for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes it’s the imagery, brutal or evocative. Sometimes it’s the way it talks about an idea, powerful or witty. Sometimes it’s a story well told. And sometimes we just love the way the words are combined. Poems can be great in all these ways and more, and we are fortunate to get to share so much fantastic work over the years.
We don’t have any set guidelines or mission statements that define just what qualities make a poem a Rust and Moth poem. We simply have our taste and sensibilities as editors to serve as our guidestar, and Rust and Moth exists in the nexus where our four sensibilities collide. And that nexus is a swirling, shifting, ill-defined thing.
But if I were to claim my own little corner of the nexus, if I were to put my finger on that which most tickles my fancy and shivers my spine, it would be in those poems that dare. They are the poems that experiment with form or language or tone or image to produce something startling and new. They have the unique power to hint at an entire world of ideas newly discovered and waiting to be explored.
What follows is a personal selection of these marvelous fever dreams, filled with magic, horror, otherworldly wonder, and not a little unexpected laughter. Join me in this strange land.