Sending Poems into the World this Holiday Season and License Plates

Don't put all your eggs in one basket
Late last night  instead of doing the things I needed to be doing (grading, lessons, sleeping) I sent a few poems out into the world. I believe that sending poems at the start of the reading season serves poets best. In an ideal world I send my poems out in September and October. Unfortunately, this is exactly when the college demands the most from me.

Instead I've found that making a pledge to myself to send four packets of poems out a month works well for me. Four is a number I can handle. I usually try to do this at the beginning of the month and to send out all four envelopes (or emails) at once. Last night I managed three. Two on-line submissions (one an on-line journal and one not) and an envelope to send clear across the country.

I think I must be growing old. I've been sending poems into the world for 18 years. Certainly, I've done my part to keep the postal service solvent. My "system" is fairly simple. Aim high and send widely. In addition to sending only to journals I want to be seen in, I play the license plate game. Remember?

My parents would keep me quiet on cross-country trips by handing me those AAA cards to keep track of all the license plates we saw from different states. I still remember the thrill of my first Alaska plate in beautiful blue lettering. It's been a long process to try and publish a poem in every state. Imagine, Rhode Island for example. Only two journals in that little state. By the way. Roger, is a lovely journal that I am proud to be published in. There's other states where I am still waiting, the Dakotas, for two.  I seem to average about 2 new states a year -- but that has slowed down. Last month I had an acceptance from Virginia, next I will try for New Mexico. I feel in control having a system that doesn't depend on Poetry (Illinois) for satisfaction.

How do you handle the maze of journals and anthologies? What is your strategy for sending work into the world? I'd love to know.


  1. Ah! I love your system!

    And I, too, have been supporting the postal system for a long time.

  2. Dear Susan,
    I started submitting poems to journals with the Poet's Market when I was 19 years old. At the time I asked my local city librarian why I couldn't find copies of ALL the literary journals listed there in their library. Ha ha ha. The Cincinnati local library was pretty light on poetry journals at the time.
    The good thing is, sending poems out represents hope and's really a brave and optimistic act, when you think about it. We should pat ourselves on the back a lot more for that act, rather than just celebrating when we succeed, you know?

  3. I agree we should celebrate our poems in the world. I love the feeling of posting them. Sometimes I confess that I seal them with a lipstick kiss.

  4. I hope your poems land nicely :)

    Happy blogoversary :)

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