For roughly the last six months, I’ve been writing a fair amount of poetry and submitting some of it to journals (and one anthology).
Here are publications that have featured my poetry:
- WestWard Quarterly (IL, USA) [2x]
- Wilderness House Literary Review (MA, USA) [1x]
- Driftwood Bay [1x]
- Three Line Poetry [3x]
Here is one that is forthcoming:
- The Rusty Nail (ID, USA)
Here are some things I’ve learned:
- When you are used to “telling” in your writing, it can get really hard to “show” effectively. And yet “showing” is so crucial to good poetry.
- Feedback is so important! I’m realizing I need to seek out feedback more.
- Although there are refreshing exceptions, in general, literary magazines take an long time to get back to you. 6+ months is not at all unusual. And unless they allow simultaneous submissions, your poetry can be tied up for that long. I’ve decided that, at this stage at least, I will not submit anywhere that is known to have a 6+ month wait time coupled with a no simultaneous submissions policy.
- If you submit to journals, prepare for a lot of rejects. And, keep in mind that a large amount of rejects have nothing to do with quality, rather than style. Tastes in poetry are diverse enough that there are many opposing views of what is beautiful. People who edit journals not only reject to keep the quality bar up, but also to keep a consistent taste and style.
- Keeping track of when/where you submit is always important, but all the more if you simultaneously submit.
- The majority of publications consider poems posted on a blog or personal home page to have been published previously, and will not accept them. Keep that in mind.
- An amazingly wonderful wife, an adorable little daughter, fall–especially October, driving/road trips, trees, water, rocks, mountains, county roads, and early memories are all great inspirations for poetry, even when the poetry isn’t explicitly about them.
- Proofreading is very important for poetry. I don’t want to get so wrapped up the right words or images that I allow embarrassing or distracting mistakes to slip through.
- Poetry is largely about tinkering. And then more tinkering. And then more. If one doesn’t like tinkering with words and phrases, poetry isn’t for them!
- Duotrope is a good tool for finding publications and keeping track of things (for poetry and fiction).