Code of Ethics

We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics


CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Rattle uses a anonymous judging system to arrive at the contest finalists. This is how we do it:

1. After we’ve received your entry, we remove identifying information about you from the manuscript, and assign it a unique number.

2. Cover sheets are filed in a folder that will remain unopened until final after decisions have been made. Manuscripts, only identifiable by the assigned number, are then distributed among the editors of Rattle for initial review. We also enter your name, address, name of your manuscript and the number we’ve assigned you into our database, in order to keep track of your work.

3. After each editor has selected their semi-finalists, affirming that they have no knowledge of who authored the manuscripts, we meet as a group to choose the winner and finalists.

4. Close friends, relatives, students, and former students of any of the judges—i.e., Alan Fox, Timothy Green, and Megan O’Reilly—are excluded from the contest. If any of the selected authors fall under these categories they will be disqualified, and a replacement will be chosen from among the finalists. As poetry is a relatively small community, and the contest is judged anonymously, we feel acquaintance should not be a disqualifying factor, so long as none of the poems in a manuscript are recognizable to any of the judges. Anyone wondering if they might be a “close friend” probably is. It seems silly to define friendship, but for the purposes of this contest, we’ll call a “close friend” anyone with whom we have direct private correspondence (either written or verbal) once a month or more. And please remember that if any poems are recognizable to the judges, the entire submission will be disqualified. It’s fine to send poems that have been submitted in the past, because the chances that we’ll remember them, given the volume of poems that we read, is exceedingly slim. But if you think that we will remember them for some specific reason, then avoid entering those poems.

5. As stated above, we vow to conduct this contest as ethically as possible. If you have any concerns regarding this matter, either before, or after the winners have been announced, please contact us directly.

Email (preferred):

tim at rattle dot com

Phone (infrequently available, but messages will be returned):
818-505-6777 ext. 111