I have started to send in work again from my latest manuscript.
After having a journal reject my work from that manuscript, after having giving me the distinct impression that it had been accepted was quite a blow. Before today, the only poems I have had out in the world were some prose poems, which have nothing to do with any of my writing projects. Just today, I sent out three sets of poems to some journals, and I plan to do a few more before the week is out.
I have to get my once-accepted-now-rejected poems back into circulation, but these poems, from the Springville manuscript are not really the "general" submission type. The poems in the book are so intimately entwined with each other, it is a real task to prepare a submission packet which demonstrates that relationship and also draws in some sense of general appreciation of poetry.
It used to be I would have a dozen or so poems hanging around and I could simply go by tone when making a packet for consideration. I would choose half a dozen journals and mass submit those poems. After, I would create a secondary packet and repeat the process. Once I had submissions out to perhaps a dozen places, I would wait for the rejections and either send out the same pages to another journal, or create a third, hybrid of the previous packets. Wash, rinse, repeat.
With my last two full length collections (Sailing This Nameless Ship & the Springville book) I have found it necessary to create a context within the 4-5 poems I am usually allowed to submit. Try submitting a three part poem which a) uses two longer quotes from a newspaper article and a book, b) details the apostasy of a man from a small Utah Mormon community, c) describes the murder of said apostate, while d) all the while the poem itself attempts to fit within the greater patchwork of poems describing the early struggles of Utah pioneers. Go ahead. I will wait for you to figure out which poems I am supposed to submit in the same batch.
Now I know someone out there is saying, "If the poem is good, it won't matter what it looks like or how it's structured, and it should be able to stand on its own." No offense, but that's bullshit, and most of you know it. When you are creating a manuscript you know full well certain poems will not mean anything without other poems which surround it. It's just the way it works, and this reality is my constant reminder I am not simply creating a space for a group of like-minded poems to reside. I am creating a manuscript with a deep, thematic base.
So I will be continuing to put the poems I have in as many different combinations as I can possibly think of and sending them out. What I really need is a group of editors to solicit from me a dozen or so poems. But then, don't we all?