Rattle’s mission is to promote the practice of poetry.
We feel that poetry lost its way in the 20th century, becoming so obscure and esoteric that mainstream readers have forgotten how moving language alone can be. As a result, most people learn to find their feelings in music, movies, and novels, while poetry languishes on its lone shelf in the bookstores, waiting only for the occasional cameo at a university workshop.
But it shouldn’t take a scholar to be moved by the written word—great literature has something to offer everyone. All our lives are compelling, full of joys and burdens and profound experiences we should be sharing—and poetry is the most intimate way to share it. When you read a poem, you become the medium; the poet speaks in your voice, paints the canvas of your inner eye.
This connection is more direct than any other, and it doesn’t take a Hollywood budget to do it. Read the poems on Rattle.com for free. Write a poem on a napkin and share it with a friend. Keep a journal and send us a page. Participate. The pure love of language is one of the most important experiences in the history of human culture, and somehow most of us have forgotten about it.
More than anything, our goal is to promote a community of active poets. That means we care as much about submitters as subscribers. Lawyers, landscapers, homemakers, and Pulitzer Prize winners are all treated the same—and we’ve published them all. Most literary magazines cite a percentage of content that comes from the “slush pile,” meaning work sent in unsolicited. In most cases this percentage is less than 50%, meaning more than half of the content was solicited, meaning you never had a chance. At Rattle, every poem we publish starts in our “slush pile,” and has to rise through the same process of careful consideration. We don’t ask for or publish the standard credit-listing bios; we don’t even read them. If we like your poem better than the Poet Laureate’s, we’ll publish yours. That’s what makes Rattle so readable.
Being an active community of poets also means that we’re always looking for feedback, and that the editors will always be available through email and Facebook and Twitter and whatever interactive technology comes out next. There’s nothing special about us; there is no ivory tower, and no etiquette to worry about breaking. So tell us what you think.
Rattle is published in several forms, in effort to find as many readers as possible, but the primary version has been a twice-per-year print issue, which appears in June and December. Each issue is roughly 200 pages of poetry, essays on a theme, and interviews with contemporary poets. One large section of poems is open to any style or theme, and a separate Tribute section features a specific stylistic, ethnic, or vocational group. Recent tributes have focused on sonnets, African American poets, cowboy poets, visual poetry, and nurses.
Every poem we’ve published has or will appear on Rattle.com as part of our daily blog, which features a poem every day, and a poetry review every 5th day. Many of the poems include an audio clip of the poet reading their work. Reviews come from you as well, and we’d be happy to send you a review copy of any book we have.
Beginning in 2013 we’ll be moving to a quarterly format, with 100-page issues coming out in March, June, September and December. Spring and Fall issues will be focused on a theme; Summer and Winter issues will be open, so anything goes.
Really, though, anything always goes. If a poem is accessible, interesting, moving, and memorable, if it makes you laugh or cry, then it’s the kind of poem that rattles around inside you for years, and it’s our kind of poem.
Facts About Us
Total Poets Published: 1,965
First-time Published Poets: 365
Pulitzer Prize Winners: 13
National Book Award Winners: 10
U.S. Poets Laureate: 8
Print Run: 5,200
Total Circulation: 4,300
Paid Subscribers: 3,200
Unique Visitors: 2,400/day
Page Views: 20,000/day
Total Submissions: 17,000/year
Poems Read: 76,500/year
Poems Published: 150/year
Publishing Rate: 0.20%
Poems Solicited: 0