I Give Up

It's well-known that poets are blind when it comes to their own poetry. They can't tell good from bad because they're married to it. But what about major-league poets' poetry? When you can't tell good from bad there, you're in trouble. Or maybe that's the nature of poetry. For Exhibit A, we go to the …

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The Mysterious Equations of Narrative Poetry, Where “Less Is More”

Story. Cavemen loved them, apparently, as do the so-called civilized types we call ourselves today. Tell me a good story, and I'm your captive till the happily ever after. Words to live by. Especially if your name is Sheherazade and your pretty life depends on it. The last entry from my reading of Gregory Orr's …

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The Siren Call of Submittable: Part 2

Yesterday I wrote at length (for me) about ways Submittable has shifted the playing field for writers and literary magazines alike. Today: How Submittable fosters bad writer habits. For literary magazines, Submittable giveth (to the bottom line, as magazines keep 62% of reading-fee proceeds) and it taketh away (the ability to staff readers who can …

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What Submittable Has Done To Us

A most interesting article appears in the Nov./Dec. issue of Poets & Writers. It's called (and pay attention to the subtitle!) "Diving Into the Digital Slush Pile: How Online Submissions Are Changing Lit Mags (And Your Chances of Publication)." Let's take a time out before we dive in, shall we? Any writer submitting to lit mags …

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Writing Is a Solitary Pursuit, But…

Writing is a solitary pursuit, yes, as well it should be. And it seems best suited for the early morning hours. But first things first. If you have a dog, you have a perfect excuse to walk it in pre-dawn darkness. Only this morning there was the full moon, making the headlamp unnecessary, and that …

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Brodsky and the Business of Writing

Sorry jumbo shrimp, but there is no bigger oxymoron than "the business of writing." Even Thomas Jefferson would find this truth self-evident. I was reminded of it while reading Shauna Osborn's poem "panic stricken uncertainties & the business of writing" in the June issue of Poetry. The poem kicks off with a Joseph Brodsky quote, …

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Try Non-GMO, Organic, Locavore Poetry!

Recently I read a sad statistic. The average print-on-demand book (the typical publishing model for poets who do not self-publish and who do not have the name recognition of the big boppers) sells only 35-40 copies. Why? Because that number happens to match the average number of friends and family members in the POD poet's …

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The Simul-Sub Dilemma

Simultaneous submissions, like the Internet, are both boon and bane. They giveth and they taketh away. As a writer, you love journals that accept simultaneous submissions because they maximize your poems' chances for publication. But... First the little "but." The niggling problem--a nice one to have--comes when you get an acceptance. You have to go …

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