“We Are Small as Moth Wing Fall”

Yesterday our family blog lost its license by posting a 5-line poem that exploded four f-bombs, Mary Ruefle's "Red." As we no longer have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (I ran out of fish), I might as well go for it and share another f-balmy poem from Poetry, which was on an f'in run …

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The Pandemic Strikes Publishing, Too

A pandemic wreaks havoc in both obvious and less obvious ways. The obvious ways appear, depressingly enough, on the homepages of our online newspapers and as "breaking news" on our televisions. Less obvious are the effects of being holed up at home, especially if you're an extrovert or someone in a bad marriage or a …

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A Sure Sign That Your Poems Might Suck

Kim Addonizio's book Ordinary Genius came out 11 years ago, so the statistics I'm about to cite about poetry readership are dated. The greater point remains valid, however. Let's dive in ipso fasto and meet around the excerpt, shall we?   "Books of poetry will teach you more than your mentor or professor or the …

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What Are Poets Writing About?

OK, I get it. Asking what today's poets are writing about is a stupid question. They are writing about whatever they want to write about. Even amending the question helps but little: What are poets who are getting published writing about? There is no way one can gain accuracy via a random sample. They're all …

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Who WAS That Masked Poet?

Poetry journals that read work anonymously are a distinct minority. The $23,496 question is: Why? Shouldn't all editors read work anonymously? Shouldn't all poems be read and judged on their own merits vs. the merits of a well-known (or well-connected) name that might offer a journal some cachet? An anecdote I've shared in the past …

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Growing Reading Fees Cause for Concern

Submittable has a filter called "No Fee" but, for whatever reason, using it does not totally eliminate journals levying fees. And lately, there has been increasing cause for worry on the reading-fee front. It used to be fairly standard that reading fees would be either $2 or, more typically, $3. I wrote about this in …

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About That Darkness Before Dawn…

As a follow-up to yesterday, here's one more interesting poem from the Feb. issue of Poetry. Maybe I like it because it's not everything-is-beautiful á la William Wordsworth. Maybe I like it because everything is decidedly not beautiful in 2020. In that sense, poet Maggie Smith has it right. She pulls no punches. She acknowledges …

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Writer / Readers Can Reject Journals, Too

For writers, rejections sting, but let's think about it. As readers, writers are in the position to reject as well. Writers often get rejections from editors that read something like this:"We are sorry we are not accepting your work as it is not a good fit for our journal. This is by no means a …

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Publishing Preference: Online or Print?

When it comes to seeking markets for your work, you can be an omnivore who treats print publications and online ones equally or you can get fussy about your diet. There are advantages to each, of course, but lately I've surprised myself by drifting in an unexpected direction. Just don't call me the publishing version …

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Thanks, I Needed That!

Once upon a time on a television far, far away, there was a strange series of commercials for Mennen Skin Bracer that featured the catchy byline "Thanks, I needed that!" Those words quickly entered the lexicon of everyday America, with people, for various reasons, offering sincere or tongue-in-cheek gratitude under the precedence of Mennen's advertising wisdom. …

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