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Poetics Serendipity

7:37 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Seals & Crofts singing Hummingbird [thought of you, Hannah!]

Hullo, everyone. Anyone else feeling enh? I suspect it’s a September thing. It made choosing links more difficult. I kept looking at things I had put aside and to each my brain said, Enh. The result may be odd.

1] The first offering can be an easy chew, like a gummie bear, or a hefty chew, like a steak. The article addresses the point that: the publishing industry that we talk about, when we talk about the thing that is existentially threatened in the digital age, is not the same thing as the book. It is one of those articles where I start to skim and then go back and then go back again and settle in to read. That article for which I have given you the link is the gummie bear, ‘The Swirl and Gurgle‘, by Mark Lane.

Lane, in turn, gives us a link to the steak, an essay by Richard Nash, ‘What Is the Business of Literature?’ For all of us concerned with publishing, the essay is an important one, but if your brain screams when it sees it, Lane gives a very digestible short version.

2] I haven’t put up places to submit, more than a couple of times. I may change that… Meanwhile, Revolution House has an intriguing annual issue, which they call their Resurrection Issue. The poems [flash fiction, creative non-fiction] that they are looking for are the ones you had published and then the magazine sank from sight. What a great idea. I often bemoan a couple of my poems where the e-zine not only stopped, but left no archives. Revolution House wants to give our work a second life.

The link is to their submissions page. The main website is undergoing a make-over, but they have links to the genres and their guidelines, as well as to back issues. Check it out. Then start Googling lines from poems that you are sure have disappeared!

3] The second site comes from my son who knows I collect such things. The article is titled: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do‘ by Colin Nissan. One of the things I love, aside from the intelligent advice, is the layout, which makes each admonition look bite-size, therefore accomplishable. The title says it all. Oh, and ignore the little bit that precedes the main article.

4] Need a laugh? How about laughing at ourselves and taking a poke at grammar? I thought so. Debbie Ridpath Ohi is such a tonic.

published with the permission of Debbie Ridpath Ohi

published with the permission of Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Enjoy and I shall see you tomorrow for the week’s roundup of prompts; next Tuesday for a prompt; and next Thursday for links and stuff.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 19/09/2013 in poetry, writing

 

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Thursday Thoughts: Useful Things to Know

8:47 am, Thursday 3 February, 2011 – Atlanta

Goodday! I hope everyone is dry and safe.

Today I want to give you links to a half-dozen items that are useful to read, or are of interest. First, I forgot to link The Rag Tree’s poem on submissions which, given three Thursdays on the topic, I thought you would enjoy reading. I am sending you to the page but have a browse around his blog, as his interests are widespread: Gilgamesh, grammar, a new world…

I stumbled, as is my wont, across another list of publishing resources in Poets & Writers.

There has been an interesting development in our writing world. A Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry has been published recently. If you go over to The Poetry Foundation you can download and read it. There is much of interest. To read a commentary on the strengths and weaknesses and hopes that the code embodies, check writer/editor Dave Bonta’s post.

Another article of interest is at Olivia Tejeda’s site Away With Words…The article addresses gender inequality in print and the findings of a group, VIDA,  established for the purpose of looking into the subject.

And, finally, a shout out for a new writing network. I am calling it that rather than a website because in many ways it mimics Facebook, but is designed for writers. They have just started, so there will be a shaking out and some of us keep losing our way around, but it’s fun to have a community and a place to meet. Check Writing Our Way Home. Join! You don’t have to do anything but you will have a “room”.

That’s it for today. Back to mantras next Thursday. Tomorrow: Friday’s roundup of this week’s prompts around the blogosphere.

 
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Posted by on 03/02/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Thursday Thoughts: Writers’ Resource for Publication

8:20 am, Thursday, 27 January, 2011 – Atlanta

Good day! This should be short and sweet, as we have our first visitors to Atlanta and I have to inhabit my domestic goddess role for a while. I was fascinated and uneasy that there were no responses to last week’s Thursday post, as that means either everyone agreed, nodded their collective heads and moved on, or everyone disagreed, but were feeling polite. Whichever, that makes for a tiny wrapup and a suggestion for those looking for sources of publication.

First, two items I strongly suggest you read, both interviews. The first is with Elizabeth Crawford, who many of you follow already on one of her several blogs. She has a fascinating background and history to her writing. Poets United‘s Sherry Blue Sky interviews her. Whether you know her or not, the interview is well worth a read. If you have not come across Elizabeth here are the blogs I know of: 1sojournal, unraveling, and Soul’s Music.

The second, timely, appeared in my inbox this morning. The interview appears in The Indie Collective, is by Judy Clement Wall, and is with Derek Haines, who writes in several genres, including poetry, and speaks specifically to self-publishing. As we head more and more in that direction, what he has to say is of interest.

Some of you may know of the resource I have been alluding to. I have been getting it in my inbox for over twelve years.  Creative Writers Opportunities List-Serve (CRWROPPS) is a Yahoo group, moderated by the poet Allison Joseph. This group posts calls for submissions and contest information, and jobs, for writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

I set up a separate email for this as, several postings arrive every day. My methods for dealing with the amount is to go through once a day and remove everything that isn’t poetry. Some of you write flash fiction, and fiction, so you may have more to deal with. Then I skim what is left, star the ones of interest to come back to, and delete anything not relevant.

The beauty of this is that not only do you know who wants what, by when, but you can go visit their online sites and read through their archives to see if your writing is a match.

Here’s how to join CRWROPPS-B:

Go to
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crwropps-b
and click on “Join This Group,” in the top right corner. Follow the on-screen prompts to join.

or
Send a blank e-mail to
crwropps-b-subscribe(at)yahoogroups.com
(replace (at) with @)

You will be sent an e-mail message with further instructions on how to join the list.

I can’t recommend this resource too highly.

See you tomorrow with the Friday roundup.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 27/01/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Thrsday Thoughts Part 2: More Questions Than Answers

9:28 am, Thursday, 20 January, 2011 – Atlanta

I have my coffee by me and have reread what I wrote last week, to make sure I follow roughly the same track. For those who have not read it, or who are a little fuzzy about what I said, you can go here. The curious serendipity that is life occurred again, as over the past week I came across an interview, a poem, and a couple of posts on the same question: Do I submit my poetry, or not? Part 2 is going back to that question, because I ended the week with more questions than answers. If I haven’t spent too long with the topic, I will go on to talk about resources, but that may become a part 3.

The topic has been a hot topic for a while. A few months ago Robert Lee Brewer, of Writer’s Digest, and a number of other members of the poetry community discussed the topic on twitter [#poettalk] with no real conclusion reached, but a lot of questions raised and a lot of confused writers, who, like me, want to know what the rules are now. And, therein lies the problem. In the pre-internet days, writers either wrote for themselves, or they wrote for themselves and for their work to be published, so that the truths their poetry told could reach others.

The internet has been a great leveler, which, in itself, raises questions and problems.  Anyone who writes, bad or good, can put their poems out there. I have, as I read through many, many blogs over the past four months come across some bad writing, but I have also come across poetry  that I find stunning, that moves me, that speaks a truth to me, and that I may not have ever seen if not for blogs.  So, posting in blogs, allows more opportunity for people to post their writing, no matter the quality and that’s wonderful for them, and allows more readers to read good poetry they might otherwise never have discovered.

Then why not have us all post, get our truths out there and be happy? That might be a place we reach some day, but it’s not where we are yet. I know that I submit because I want affirmation from the people who should know good poetry [publishers and editors], and their audiences, who become my audiences, if I am published. I want to work to a standard that requires me to hone and craft and continually [continuously?] work and rework my poems. That becomes another question. With posting, and even with all the ezines that have sprung up, because anyone can start an ezine if they wish, who sets the standards? Do we need standards set? Who says what a good poem is and what a bad, or weak, poem is? Do we need that?

For those who wish to post and submit, there is the dicey question of which poems to post. Of every poem I write, especially in response to the many wonderful prompts around, I ask myself whether it might be a poem I want to submit. I don’t like that I have to struggle with that question, but I am posting more. Magazines and journals seem more and more crystallized on the point that if a poem has been on a blog and been read, it, in effect, has had its first publication. And, I do see the editors’ and publishers’ point: when they publish a poem, they want to be the first to let readers see it. However, I also think that more and more writers will self-publish, and that the stigma that used to attach to that is lessening in some quarters.

There’s another question. Is having self-publishing made easy by the internet a good thing? I have two chapbooks that say yes. I would not have read them if they weren’t published at all. With the sheer volume of poetry being submitted now, there are many more poets, who might have been published in the days of snail mail, who find it much harder now to get their work out to an audience.

James, at a gnarled oak, says, in a comment on last Thursday’s post: This is something I go round and round with. I’ve also been in several categories. Lately, I’ve been developing a philosophy of submitting. Anymore, I am unlikely to submit to a journal/zine/site that does not a) take electronic submissions, b) publish online or at least have some kind of useful web presence, c) take simultaneous submissions, and d) allow submissions that have previously been posted on a personal site. I generally prefer to publish on my site. I enjoy the immediacy of it (even if the poem has been in revision for months or years) and I like the fact that people read my stuff and I (sometimes) get feedback. Occasionally, I’ve had to ask myself if my best stuff should appear first on my site where my readers can enjoy it or is it best to go elsewhere. Perhaps a balance is best and that’s why I do submit, but I focus submissions toward venues whose submission policies align with my idea of how submissions should be done.

You see, I knew once I got going this would be long and it has raised more questions than given answers. I am going to go give my poor brain more coffee. Let me finish with a point made by the writer over at The Rag Tree. I am going to give you his last point, but go on over and visit, because he has six other points worth reading. 7) A writer has only two obligations: to write as well as he or she can and to tell the truth. If you believe this, then you are writing for your community, whether it be the one that surrounds you, sympathetic souls on the other side of the world, or people who won’t be born for a thousand years. You may be published or not (or only in a minor way), but what counts are your words (not you) and the healing they bring. Many good people have died as a result of telling the truth as they see it.

I look forward to comments on this entry and will continue next Thursday with wrapping up if it looks like something needs wrapping and then, resources. Yes, I did mention a poem on the topic. Next week I will give you the link.

Tomorrow is Friday’s weekly roundup. See you there.

 
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Posted by on 20/01/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Thursday Thoughts: To Submit, or Not.

10:09 am, Thursday, 13 January, 2011 – Atlanta

Before we get to a discussion about submitting, I used part of yesterday to think about this blog and how it needs to evolve. Looking over my general plan for the year [you know teachers – we do lesson plans], I figure I will be out of primary material in about six months. I know I can recycle [a reminder from my daughter that variations can be endless] but I do want to slow down my full tilting down the road.

I am restructuring so that Monday will be off, on the theory most people are clearing the decks after the weekend; Tuesday will continue to be a creative exercise; Wednesday will be off; Thursday will be where the mantras and any other discussion of aspects of poetry will happen; and Friday will continue to be a roundup of the week’s prompts. I may use Mondays and Wednesdays to post poems for prompts from other sites, but it won’t be regular. If there is something I want to share, I will always let you know on a regular day.

Over the past few months as I brought myself up to speed on the poetry scene in the United States, I realised that writers fall into roughly three categories. There are those who write and do not post or submit. My son and daughter are both better poets than I will ever be, yet my son has never had any interest in publishing what he writes and my daughter doesn’t have the time to write, as she once did. I suspect there are many writers who fall under this category

The second category is writers who post but don’t submit, whether because they feel more comfortable with the thought of sharing rather than going through the submission process, or they are not interested in submitting but still want their writing out there. With the onset of computers, I suspect some writers shifted from the first to the second category.

The third category of writers are the ones who want publication, whether in print or online. They spend much of their time crafting, revising, and honing. They also spend much of their time looking for places to submit. This category falls into splinter groups. One group does not post poems because they might be able to submit the poems for publication if they find a home for them. Another group tentatively [this would be my group] posts some poems, but, in general, holds onto poems that they want to see published. Yet another group wants their poems out there, no matter by what means, so they post, they self-publish and they sometimes submit. And, if they are established writers they have the luxury of doing whatever they want and they have earned that luxury.

There is no right or wrong. It’s what works for each individual and her/his writing.

This post has a part 2, which I will continue next Thursday, when I will talk about the resources for publishing. I will see you tomorrow for the roundup.

 
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Posted by on 13/01/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Wednesday Writings

9:30 am, Wednesday, 5 January, 2011 – Atlanta

A status quo I wrote Monday. It’s more a where I am now compared to where I was before I took a three year hiatus from writing. I came to poetry fairly late in my life, not discovering the passion until I was 39, one year after I discovered my other passion: teaching. But a passion it was, almost consuming. Then, I had the energy needed to both write and teach. Ten years on and teaching became the consumer of all my energy. I wrote still, but more and more sporadically. I had built up enough of a reputation that several print and ezines published my poems and then one day I was no longer living and breathing poetry.

I loved teaching, but without poetry a large part of my life felt bleak. A couple of years ago, I started seeing poetry again, in the world around me and knew I needed to write. This year, almost twenty years later, I have retired from teaching to focus on my writing, but oh, what a difference twenty years makes. I lived overseas during that twenty years and submissions were mostly snail mail with a few ezines emerging. I knew nothing of blogs and twitter was for birds or little old ladies.

When I arrived in Atlanta four months ago and dived into the poetic scene that is today, I discovered a vibrant, lively, and above all, connected community. I also had a steep learning curve. I have climbed a long way up the hill but am still learning. I have discovered wonderful people, tremendous support, and am writing and submitting poetry. Can’t ask for much more.

One of the hot topics going around that I have been coming to grips with is the Is posting the same as being published? problem. My initial response is no, but I understand where publishers are coming from, because the poem has been seen if it has been posted. But a lot of what we post are often first drafts in response to prompts, poems which we would redraft and polish a little more were we to submit them for publication. My inclination, at first, was to work on the many wonderful prompts offered, but not to post the results. I have now come around to the other side of the argument somewhat and, as Collin Kelley says, to get the poems out there to an audience. Does it really matter if it is published or posted? Well, to some degree, for those of us not established as poets yet, yes. But we can do both: save poems we would like to see in print and ezines, post poems we want to share and can let go of. I am enjoying the prompts more now that I am posting responses.

Thank you for letting me write that out of my system. I think next Wednesday, I shall continue but down another track: the rather broad topic of submitting.

Tomorrow: The poet is never the speaker. Join me!

 
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Posted by on 05/01/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Wednesday Wishes

3: 21 pm, Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 – Atlanta

I have had a number of wishes lately, although I hadn’t thought of them that specifically: I wished/hoped to have a set of poems published by a neat organization called the Origami Poems Project; I wished my maple tree would not blow over in the wind; I wished I could separate my poetry blogs from other stuff; and I wished I could settle on titles.

I will work backwards through the list. I decided my titles will alliterate with the day of the week and depend on what I want, or need , to write on any given weekday. That was easy, once I realised the alliterating words will give me more scope.

I decided I wanted to separate my writing on poetry from my writing on other topics. I took a deep breath and plunged into WordPress’ help pages, which are extensive. Turns out even I can follow their step by step instructions. I am now typing this on my new blog: Woolgathering. Next step/ wish: customizing. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, I have disappeared into the depths of the help pages.

My poor tree. A couple of days ago we had a rainstorm and high winds which had the maple flailing its long thin branches like the arms of drowning people, before they sink into the depths. Yesterday we had winds which signaled approaching tornadoes and the tree is flinging itself about with mad abandon; at least, the branches are. The second tree’s branches flutter a little, as if it feels it should exert some energy, given the show my tree is putting on. My tree is putting its back into the flinging: AHHHH! Wind! Fling! Fling! A sustained gust hits it and all the branches are pushed back slowly. Now the entire canopy bends [remember: this is a seventy foot tree], resisting, bending, pushing back. I am reminded of the motions of a fisherman playing a large fish. He pulls back on the rod, then lets the reel out, pulls, pulls, pulls; the line tautens, tightens, tenses, relaxes; pull, pull, pull, release…bend, bend, bend, fling fling! A few leaves are flung like confetti and sail past my window. I put the tree in a comment on facebook and received a wish that it might prevail. It is still here.

I received an email Monday telling me that a set of poems I had sent in to Origami Poems suited and would be published. They have a wonderful mission, as stated on their home page:

“Origami poems are bound together in a book published on a single piece of paper!

The origami is the book, of course. The poems are original, and the collections are amazingly charming.

The idea of creating and spreading these books of poetry à la Johnny Appleseed inspired the Origami Poems Project founded by Lynnie Gobeille, Jan Keough, and Barbara Schweitzer.

Free Poetry is the Origami Poems Project mantra.

Free the poet!

Free the poem from competition!

Free the world from economic barriers to poetry!

We have over three dozen poets who are participating in the project at present, but we hope to spread the word so that all poets can easily create handmade collections. We’re distributing the poems in small plastic boxes throughout Rhode Island. We were featured on poets.org on the “Poem in a Pocket” day with a list of our distribution places of libraries, coffee shops, art centers, and bookstores.”
I have seen the proof of my Origami booklet and am thrilled. I cannot wait to see the final product.
Now, into the Help pages…

 

 
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Posted by on 27/10/2010 in poetry, writing

 

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