Hey W,R: I just was reading an interview with the editor of a new online/print pub called Sotto Voce. Apparently the editorial selection process is totally blind; all identifying information about the writer -- name, previous pubs, education -- is stripped from the ms during the review process, and only after a piece has been selected for publication do the editors find out who wrote it.
A quote that left me feeling kind of smug, considering the incessant speculation on your blog and elsewhere that an MFA credential magically opens publishing doors:
"Ironically, I received an e-mail from a disgruntled contributor (he was rejected for the first issue) who said that "[Sotto Voce] only recognize[s] three letters of the alphabet. MFA." I set him straight, but I had to laugh at his misconception. Any skewing of our contributor pool in favor of those who have formal education in writing or art demonstrates one thing: that formal education will make you a better writer, poet, or artist. Of course, there are the few-and-far-between natural geniuses but, in general, those who devote their time and energy towards learning their craft will be better at it."
Here's the interview:
And here's the new zine:
A caveat: I haven't read any of the fiction in Sotto Voce, and I see that the blog interviewer is a contributor in the first issue; relations between editor and contributor might be cozier than the editor admits. But since there is no such thing as the imaginary cookie-cutter "MFA style" some of your posters are paranoid enough to perceive (it is impossible), I believe the editor when she says she goes for accomplished art.
Anyway, I thought you might be interested. You know I love Literary Rejections On Display and have great respect for you and the grace with which you conduct yourself, particularly with the meanies who show up periodically.
This note does bring up an interesting question, though. Are editors with MFA's more likely to publish the kind of writing they learned and learned to value in graduate school? Perhaps some lit eds will come around and set us straight on the question.