Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sending Poems into the World this Holiday Season

Today I sent my words into the world. Some traveled by way of the ether through on-line submissions and others opted for the old fashioned stamp and envelope method. I am wishing them all a safe journey. Really, there are other things I should be working on right now -- a deadline for an essay looms, a doctor's appointment later this afternoon chirps at me; there is a todo list and sending poems out was not one of the items on it.

I am actually someone who likes sending my poems into the world. They are going on a trip! Quick! Get every comma and semi-colon ready. Is the font right or is there a better fashion statement my words can make? In other words, I try to make a game out of the entire experience so as to not stress whether my work will come back with a "A" grade or an "R."

Some things I entertained myself with this afternoon that may be of some use to you, too.

1. The license plate game -- send poems to states you'e never been to, never even had a poem published in. There is a contest going on right now in Cork, Ireland. Part of the prize is a trip to Cork! I haven't sent to them yet -- but if I can find the information again, I'm going to!

2. Which poems of mine would go well together? This is the wine and cheese portion of the project. Editors often look for pairs of poems that they can take. Have I offered poems that would go well together without being redundant or schizophrenic?

3. Something borrowed, something new. OK. Here's a confession: I've been sending out poems and sometimes getting them published since 1992. That's a long time and it means that many journals in this country (and the world) have had the chance to accept or reject my poems before. Today I sent poems to a beautiful journal that first published me in 1996 -- I was so glad that they were still going strong that I sent them new work and reminded them that they'd published me before. I also sent to brand new journals that look promising and have not seen my work before.

4. Cool stamps are a fun part of this process. I've loved postage stamps since I collected the old stamps of the Solomon Islands and Fiji -- so many are miniature pieces of art. Which journal should get SPCA cats and which Katharine Hepburn.

I could go on ...This is something I love to do and have even created a small side business of helping others send out their poems to appropriate places. It certainly beats doctors' appointments!


  1. Susan, I love the process, too. Thanks for sharing your joy and best of luck to the poems!

  2. Susan,
    I'd like to know more about your "small, side business." ???

  3. Thanks for all your kind thoughts for my poems as they travel out into the world at large. Drew, maybe I should blog about my little poetry business of helping people send their poems into the world -- emphasis on the word "little" ~ it is something I enjoy doing though.

  4. Susan - a very uplifting post about something I've come to dread. It hasn't always been that way but after going through a drought I just got tired of submitting. My goal is to do more in 2011 and not be so pessimistic about it. This post was a good point to start from. Thanks!!!

  5. I'm going to borrow your idea and pay more attention to putting together complimentary pieces. That never occurred to me before. I usually put together dissonant poems, thinking that the range might help me. But your way makes much more sense.