There is so much I’d like to post about today, since I had been mostly absent of late. But before I get carried away talking about what and whom I’ve been reading, here’s a bit of an update, as promised, regarding what I myself have been writing.
Well, I’ve been writing a lot of things, editing some old drafts, penning some new first lines, taking notes, hashing out some first drafts. . . but what I really mean to tell you about is this submission process, sending out things I’ve already written to see if they can find a home on their own.
I indicated last time that I have been collecting rejection slips so that I can wall-paper my kitchen, but I’m not too worried about that. In fact, each time a poem is rejected I know that narrows down the wide field of potential candidates to match the piece up with. They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, and I suppose the submission process for poetry is pretty much like that. Luckily you find out usually more quickly in poems than in love, and most of the frogs, or journals and e-zines don’t seem to mind who else you’re kissing in the process.
And the rejections no longer upset me, except for those occasional spots where I was really hoping to see my work published. And for those places, well, I can just keep trying. Instead they now seem to give me encouragement to move on to the next frog–er publishing outlet. I even got a specific sort of rejection from Referential Magazine, and wisdom on the street is that if you get anything aside from a form rejection it’s a good sign.
My friend, the lovely poet Rachel Bunting gave me some good advice a couple of years ago when I had initially thought about dipping my toes in the icy waters of poetry submissions again. She said to do a lot of reading, and find journals that publish poems you really like. Chances are if you like their style it’s because it’s relate-able to you own.
This seems like good advice to me. Why attempt to get published somewhere, no matter how prestigious, if I don’t even like most of the poetry the put out? And there are plenty of good poetry outlets who fit my vision of what poetry is all about. More about that later. If you’ve been reading here before, you know the topic is a recurring one anyway.
Meanwhile, other recent rejections came for poems I sent to the Museum of Americana (a long shot for what I sent them anyway) and Green Mountains Review. Was I bothered? Sure, a little, but not for long. I just think about it long enough to question if perhaps the poem could have been better, or maybe just didn’t fit that publication’s literary personae.
And that brings us to the happy part of this unfolding saga: Acceptances. Two journals recently have accepted my work, both of them Pennsylvania journals who have a bent toward poems about this region. That in itself is enough to make me look a bit harder on some of my “poems of place,” and it gives me a little hope about some upcoming submissions, including one to Blast Furnace, a journal looking for just that sort of thing. This is what I am trying to do, learn as I go.
Watershed, the Journal of the Susquehanna just contacted me to say they would like to publish my poem “Crossroad Song” in their upcoming edition this summer. The journal is edited by poet Jerry Wemple of Bloomsburg University where I got my BA. Though I’ve never studied with Jerry directly, I’ve been to a few readings and programs that he sponsored or was involved with. And I had the pleasure of reading at the same microphones back in October when we read at the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, and at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.
You might remember some video clips from that back in the fall, and a poem of Jerry’s I read during this year’s Poetry Month project. So I’m just tickled to be in his next edition, especially since it’s a poem dedicated to an old friend of mine who passed away. I’ll let you know when it comes out and how to get your pretty little poetic hands on it.
Also two of my poems were just printed and made available on Monday in a journal that was featured in Scranton’s Zine-Fest at New Visions Studio Gallery. “For the Man in the Museum,” a tongue-in-cheek response to Billy Collins’ “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July,” and “On Selecting Optics” were just published in the Osterhout Free Library‘s spring edition of their print publication, Word Fountain. You can click on the link there to get information about how to get a copy if you’d like. And I just noticed while writing this that the online version of of this poem-only edition is available by clicking right here.
The Saga Continues:
I currently have a few other submissions out there, including poems I sent to T(OUR) and The Blue Hour Magazine, which is a lovely journal right here on WordPress. I also have a few others to send out this week, including to Blast Furnace and Poemeleon. And Rattle Just opened up submissions for their upcoming “Love Poem” issue. Sadly I am not sure that many of my pieces will qualify. Some of my best stuff is about relationships gone bad. But isn’t this widely the case?
So that’s my report on attempts and successes for tonight. Maybe it’s just my attempt at being accountable; if I tell you about my goals, I have to follow through or fess up, right? Tomorrow I’ll tell you about another sort of success I experienced recently. At the very least I have given you some good journals to read, so goodnight, and good poeming!
- After Long Business, I’m back. (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- 5 Tips for Submitting your Work for Publication (shamelesswordartistsociety.wordpress.com)
- My Poem was published by Poetry24 (kprudchenko.wordpress.com)
- more dirty submission secrets (heydeadguy.typepad.com)
- How do you handle rejection? What is rejection, really? (arirjames.wordpress.com)
- David Reads “An April Funeral in Pennsylvania,” by Jerry Wemple (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Poetry Writing Instruction Manuals: “The Poetry Home Repair Manual” (poeticallyversed.com)