Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Publishing Poetry

Last night I had a little time, so I went looking. My plan was/ is to follow the trail of poets and poems I like, to see where my work might fit in. Where would it make sense to send things? Things=Albuquerque Sketch; Hot Summer Evening (sketch); and some of my zippy haiku.

I started with Dana Roeser (UOregon/ NorthWestReview).
"If You Step Off Now" reprinted by Versedaily.
Books: In the Truth Room, and Beautiful Motion.
I visited Eugene once. My ex and I thought we might like to live there, but when we arrived it seemed a tad tired, dumpy--muddy. It was NOT love at first sight. The publication has a gorgeous web site. I wrote down all the submission information, and the name of the poetry editor. What is holding me back? Well, I don't know how I feel about asking for a spot in a publication that I don't subscribe to. Seems dishonest. Or cheap. So I am sitting with that struggle for now. In general, magazines either intimidate or bore me: the beautiful high culture small circulation rags worry me. So many voices. So much yearning. So little listening. Who is their audience? What is their purpose? And frankly, my mental health, my grip on happiness always feels precarious. Tenuous. I don't trust them not to say something that rips me apart unexpectedly. Brave twisted souls handing me devastation. Dumb huh? I guess my grip on Defense Mechanisms is shaky too. Blam! There went 40 years of Avoidance under the 18-wheels of a gorgeous, wrenching, anguished, metaphorical paragraph.

Next I thought, I really loved Allan C. Fischer's poem: "Firebirds." But I couldn't find hide nor hair of him or it. (Okay. Maybe dig around and come back to him.)

How about "Starfish" by Eleanor Lerman?
[I believe I ran into her poem through the Writer's Almanac. Not a regular haunt for me...]
This search was surprising. She turned out to be extremely colorful. Google handed me a listing at the American Academy of Poets (, several long interviews, a personal web site, and several blog entries by people who were intriguing in their own right. What a strange journey.

Funny details noted in passing: "Stumbleupon" is a great blog name.

When I have something to say for myself I will say it.
Until then, another poet, a cellist, a saint--
their words will do nicely.
-Kate Horowitz

I wanted to cry after awhile. So many lovely words strung together. So many energetic, creative people. And so much posturing and striving. Such a perilous mountain range. It made me sad to think EL. was tossed up and then stomped so thoroughly. ("A sadder and a wiser man, he rose the morrow morn.")

Gandhi said to Be the change you want to see in the world. I want to live in the world where creativity is valued, nurtured, shared, celebrated. Crushing people, falling into despair or hiding behind ego armor--that is Pure Evil. Murder of the soul. The theft and pawning of joy. Where are my people? What is my work?

And speaking of Gandhi, this morning I stumbled onto his list of Seven Deadly Social Sins:
  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce with morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

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