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Guiding Principles for Ecotone Editors

1. The people whose work we read, and those whose work we edit, are our companions on this path. Their writing deserves our attention and care, our love—the same we wish to receive for our own writing.

2. The faculty and students who work on the magazine do so out of love of literature, print culture, and place. How are we supporting the landscapes that support us, and those that support our readers and writers? How is the work we do each day serving the life of print culture? What poem will we read as we begin?

3. We are in this together. This = the work of the magazine. There is a lot of this. We do the work in company, we support each other with kindness and smarts and good humor, and we remember to rest, to attend to ourselves as people so that we can be fully present as editors.

4. Time is wily; we harness time. A fact of our labor is that some of it is exciting and requires deep intellectual and emotional engagement, and some of it is rather repetitive and requires care and stamina, and some of it is generative and requires goofiness and laying out lots of ideas and leaving things to rest overnight and coming back to them with fresh eyes. We bring all we can to this work. We give the people who’ve shared their writing with us our careful readerly attention. We work to promote our authors’ writing as well as to put it in print. We remember the sublime reasons for all this labor. We play.

5. We have our eyes on the big picture as well as the sentence, the line, the word, the comma. During the reading and editing process, we attend to the fitness of the work for Ecotone’s mission, the arc of the narrative, the strength of the characters, the fidelity to the chosen form, the depth of the inquiry, the checkedness of the facts, and the rightness of the phrasing, syntax, meter, enjambments, grammar, and punctuation for the purposes of the work as well as for Ecotone’s style.

6. A second set of eyes is essential. We top edit each other’s work. We treat each other’s edits with the same care with which we treat the writing itself, working on behalf of the writer, the reader, and our fellow editors.

7. a. A well-made note, in form and content, signifies respect.
b. A pause before replying improves the reply. We employ professional etiquette in all Ecotone communication, from logistical notes within the team to submissions replies to complex editorial letters. We model good communication for each other and for the Ecotone practicum.

8. Knowing what we don’t know requires attention, and the need for this attention never ends. We continually cultivate an awareness of both the places where we can improve as editors and the places where we excel, recognizing that doing so will help us toward a deeper and more subtle sense of the craft, and that there is always more to be found.