Via Andrew Sullivan, here’s a compilation of the top ten titles submitted to Virginia Quarterly Review over the last two years. Would be interesting to see an Australian equivalent. My guess is it would include ‘Sex’ somewhere.

The ten most common titles of submissions that we’ve received in the past two years:

  1. Untitled
  2. Aubade
  3. Gravity
  4. Prayer
  5. Homecoming
  6. Night
  7. Drowning
  8. Home
  9. Sonnet
  10. Sleep

The laws of probability dictate that repeat single-world titles are far more common than multi-word titles, which is why these are all single words. Since we receive more poems than any other genre, and since poems are more likely to have single-word titles than other genres, almost all of these are poems. These don’t represent a huge percentage of our submissions (we received seventeen works entitled “Untitled,” for instance), but they do stand out for their frequency.

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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  1. You crack me up Paul.

    Titles are bloody hard. The first novel (it wasn’t really a novel, just an incoherent collection of words) I wrote was called ‘Jamaican Kamikaze’. I was nineteen and it was bad. Very, very, very bad. So bad even the title didn’t offer any salvation. So bad I want to shoot myself just thinking about it.

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