Don Paterson, an editor and a poet, claim[s] that “A non-poet can’t do a line-edit on a poem”; it is essential for an editor to be a poet, too.
Michael Schmidt, the editor of Carcanet Press and PN Review, added that the job can be tricky when grappling with the work of someone from a different culture. “If you’re publishing a Zimbabwean poet or a poet from India or New Zealand, they’ll speak a language different from your own,” he said, adding, “This is an issue between genders as well.”
Both these points are slightly disquieting. If only poets can edit the work of another, does that mean that only poets fully comprehend the work?