Sometimes you send a pack of poems out, and a year goes by. You forget. Editors are busy, you’re busy. You keep sending the work elsewhere. I don’t normally inquire after a submission. Though, one time I did and got a lovely rejection from the Gettysburg Review, whose editors said that while my poems weren’t “quite right” for them, they “found them moving and graceful nonetheless.” A no like that is almost as good as a yes. Almost.
Usually, I chalk up a non response as a “no.” But recently, one of those forgotten submissions came back to me at a timely moment. I had been thinking about whether or not to revisit the old “School Bus Poems” project. My son, Micah and I were considering making a section for them in the sequel we’ve started working on while waiting for our current chapbook to find a publisher.
While I didn’t win the Pangaea Prize, I was named as a finalist and one of my poems from the submission has now been published by the Poet’s Billow. You should check out the winning poem by Alexandra Umlas. It’s a crown of sonnets, a form in which the first line of each successive sonnet begins with the last line of the previous one, concluding with a repeat of the first line of the series. It’s wonderfully done by Umlas. Read it here.
This is the third School Bus Poem to find a home so far. The first was “Swing,” which was published several years back, along with work by Brian Fanelli and Jason Allen in Contemporary American Voices. The second SBP to settle down was “Advent,” published in the spring of 2016 by Barely South Review. And now, at long last, this poem about memory and my home town has landed on the Poet’s Billow. You can read “Of Bats and Brothers” here. My thanks to editors Rob and Michele.
The photo here is not of my brothers, but of my three boys, the ones “who keep mostly out of trouble.” Now, I need to work on a poem about my sisters. The are wondering where the poem about them is. They are not amused.