Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why I've decided to suspend the poet behavior of submitting my poems

Yes, the title to this post is entirely accurate.  I have decided to forego the process of submitting my poems for the time being.  Not that a lot of you will care why I am doing this, but I want to spell it out as much for myself as for anyone else who might have the urge to ask why they don't see any writer news from me in this department.

1.  It has been more than two years since I have had anything accepted for publication.

Basically I have been either writing the wrong stuff or I have been writing the right stuff nobody is interested in reading.  I would like to think I am writing the right stuff but editors have been of the mind their readers do not want to read what I am writing.  I am sure it's a little bit of both.  I am certain some of my poems were not ready for publication and some were just not to the liking of the editors who have seen my work in the past two (plus) years.  I'm okay with any eventuality in this category.  I am still writing and I am still editing my poems, and lest there be any confusion, I have never had any belief the submitting process is connected to the writing process, except to say if you aren't writing, you probably don't have much to submit.

2.  I am not liking a lot of the poetry I am reading in journals lately.

While I am tempted to say this is an explanation as to why my work is not being accepted, I am going to avoid that pitfall.  Instead I am going to acknowledge a splitting of aesthetics---those of myself and those of everybody else.  If I am not enjoying the poetry I m reading in a lot of the venues I peruse in my wanderings over he internet and a few of the printed journals to which I subscribe, then I have no business wasting the time of those who edit said journals and enjoy reading them.  It would be disingenuous of me to say to any of these publications, I am right and you are wrong, and further, this is how it is supposed to be done by submitting my own poems for consideration.

3.  I do not want to write in the hopes of impressing the wrong people.

While every writer has an immutable list of people he/she wants to impress and would do almost anything to hear a snippet of praise from, very few of those people are poetry editors I know.  Oh, I would love to  be accepted to some poetry journals, but I do not write for any of the editors of those journals and I do not want my writing to start don that path.  By stopping the submission process, I am trying to, in my own way, ensure I will not be changing what little of my poetry is authentically mine for something which might garner favor from these editors---especially the ones I admire.  Precious little of anything I have to say is original, and I want to keep it that way.

* * *

Later, in the Fall, I will have five or so poems coming out in weber---The Contemporary West, and those poems were accepted back in early 2012.  Those poems were from my book, Hobble Creek Almanac, which came out in 2013.   They are the last poems of mine which will be out for a considerable amount of time.  I am also working on a manuscript of landscape meditations, which may or may not ever get published.  The poems I m writing now are short, weird, and terse.  I have no explanation for why they are such, but that's what they are.  I have taken to reading a lot of well established poets I admire and a few new books, but I have restricted my purchases, and will be buying fewer books than I normally would for quite a while.

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