DRR House Style

As readers of your work, we love nothing more than being able to just sit back and enjoy your work without being distracted by careless errors. Please be sure your work has been carefully edited and proofread before submitting. We encourage all writers to refer to their preferred style handbooks as they prepare submissions, as we often consult our favorite MLA handbook as we copy edit.

  • We ascribe to Pound’s dictum that “Poetry should be at least as well-written as prose.” Unless there’s a really good reason otherwise—and often there is—we generally expect poems to follow conventional grammar and punctuation.
  • Left justify poems unless they are concrete poems or are deliberately laid out on the page. (I.e., no all-centering of poems by default without a good reason.)
  • We love the Oxford comma, commas after introductory words and phrases, commas that join independent clauses with coordinating conjunctions, and commas that set off nonessential or parenthetical expressions. We’re sticklers for commas that set off dialogue, direct address, interjections, and tag questions.
  • We dislike commas that come between a subject and its verb, between a verb and its object, after coordinating conjunctions, or between just two items.
  • We appreciate dialogue that is formatted consistently and note that in the US, usually dialogue and quotations go inside double quotation marks, and quotations-within-quotations go inside single quotation marks.
  • Moreover, commas and periods go inside closing quotation marks, semicolons and colons go outside them, and exclamation points and question marks go inside closing quotation marks if they are a part of the quotation or dialogue and outside if they are a part of the larger sentence.
  • Use semicolons to join two independent clauses or to separate a list that has items already containing commas. Use sparingly, especially in poetry.
  • Avoid cartoonish use of punctuation, such as ellipses to indicate pauses or exclamation points that are not a part of dialogue that is yelled.
  • Capitalize proper nouns. Do not capitalize common nouns.
  • Spell out numbers less than one hundred (unless it seems like an artful decision).
  • Avoid needless tense and pronoun shifts.
  • Hyphenate compound adjectives.
  • Break these and other rules deliberately, meaningfully, and artfully.