|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
WHERE CAN YOU FIND OUTLETS FOR YOUR POETRY?
I Didn't Know You Had To Plug Them In! Do They Come With An Adapter?
No, I won't be any less irreverent because I'm dealing with those products of your more serious side. If you've read a few of my previous posts you know I'm congenitally incapable of reverence for anything longer than thirty seconds. People, this is SERIOUS writing here...Try to have a little fun!
Perhaps the most difficult decision you're going to make is when to submit a poem. (Or an entire life's collection of them...PLEASE don't do that unless your last name is Frost, or Yeats, or something similarly weighty!) We have all gone through this. Yours truly (see the picture) sent in his first manuscript to Little, Brown and Co. at the age of seventeen. Hey, balls I had, the brain is the slower developing organ!
I received a reply, that was actually signed by an editor, that read, "Thank you for submitting to L,B and Co. After careful consideration we regret we have no place for your manuscript at this time. When you develop a voice and style authentically your own please try again." I was thrilled! They actually said I could try again. Haven't found the nerve yet, but they said I could.
So, what would have been a more realistic approach? I hung in there and started discovering open readings and poetry workshops. These are places where you show up and either sign in or wait your turn to read a poem or two. Some of them offer that kind of encouragement you get when people don't want to say anything controversial and some of them offer real critiques. This second type can be a bit intimidating if you've never faced a room full of people who know what they're talking about and aren't afraid to let you hear it. Some writers get their nose out of joint over this atmosphere and input. Others realize that it's what they signed up for and listen with sincerity and the proverbial grain of salt.
I was lucky that one of the ones I discovered early on was well known in the Boston area and also published a monthly anthology, Stone Soup Poets, ed. Jack Powers. As my work improved, and my voice grew more mine, I was invited to submit. I sent them eight of my best and they chose the one that worked for them.
Since then I have published in weekly newspapers, literary journals, and annually produced anthologies that were of the 'take your best shot' school. I have been invited as a featured contributor to publications such as "TEN CALIFORNIA POETS", released by the Arcade Poetry Project in Ventura, California. I have also worked as an editor on some publications.
I have been a featured reader in coffee shops, art centers, and colleges. Truth be known, I'll show up for the opening of a can of beer! The thing is, I have never turned down an opportunity. I still do open mic's just to gauge response to my current work.
So there's a world of opportunity to get your stuff heard. I haven't mentioned the Internet, (though I have posted on other sites besides this), only because I am a great believer that you improve far faster through connecting in the flesh. Those are the times when you can hear a crowd and know whether you have reached them or not.
There are an incredible number of college literary journals out there, and a really pleasing rebound in the number of small, independent presses. You can locate a huge number of these in the Writer's Market Publications, Poet's Market Guide available online or through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local library. There are also listings in the Poet's Market Guide for larger, commercial, markets.
It's all about putting in the work and paying the dues. Along the way you will inevitably meet some terrific artists and some demonic egos but that's life. Right? What else are you writing about? If you'd like to take the risk, check out the opportunity below. No guarantees (or pay), but no one's handing out oil wells and diamond mines in the poetry world, gang.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
Dane F. Baylis