Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Cockamamie Life of a Poet

We poets often say that we work in isolation. We say that because it’s true. It can be a lonely occupation, especially for those of us without a nearby poetry community or family and friends who share our love of poetry. We often go for long stretches of time without any poetry conversation. Throw a bunch of poets together at a festival or a conference and notice how they practically fall on each other. They are so hungry for poetry talk.

I’ve thought for a number of years that blogs have been great for closing up the distance and creating a new community of poets who share the same interest in writing poems and the same frustrations. Online journals in their own way also help to bring poets together in a way that print journals do not. I’m not sure why that is or even if it’s really true, but it feels true to me. Then social media has become a wonderful way for poets to gather even though separated by many miles. Yes, it can be a great time waster, but it can also be a way of sharing trials and triumphs. I’d never think of knocking on my neighbor’s door and saying, “Hey, guess what! I just had a poem accepted by such and such a journal and I’ve been dying to get into that journal.” But I am happy to routinely post such news on Facebook and to read of such news from my Facebook “friends”—many of whom I’ve never met. We give each other Likes and congratulatory comments. Maybe it’s weird, but I like that.

All of that is leading up to sharing my recent poetry news here with you, my poetry neighbors.

For print publications I have a new poem, “Signs,” in the inaugural issue of Tahoma Literary Review. Poetry editor Kelly Davio has done a great job with this journal. She and her co-editor have even managed to create a business model that allows them to pay their contributors. The journal appears in print, but you can also download it as a pdf. Several months ago Kelly invited me to write a guest post for the website. I chose to write about how I’d gone about writing “Signs.” That piece, “Imitation and Invention,” has now been posted. Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter will recognize the Carl Dennis poem that I refer to as it was the model poem for the June issue's poetry prompt. I practice what I preach.

I also have two poems, “A Polemic for Pink” and “Pity the Fortune Cookie Writer His Muse,” in the current issue of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. Poetry Editor Julie Brooks Barbour has put together an issue I’m so proud to be part of. I also like how she and editor Kaite Hillenbrand use social media to spread the word.

I also had two recent online features. My one and only concrete poem, “Organic Fruit,” in the shape of an avocado, was re-featured at Your Daily Poem as part of the journal’s five-year anniversary celebration. Publisher Jayne Jaudon Ferrer single-handedly manages to post a poem every single day of the year.

The other feature is at The Good Men Project. Poetry editor, Charlie Bondhus, selected my poem, “The Missing Bike,” for this feature. Each poem that appears in the poetry column is paired with an appropriate piece of art. The readership for this online journal/magazine appears to be enormous. Some of the articles get thousands of readers. Last time I checked my poem had received 258 Facebook shares from the page. What a great way to increase the readership. This is why I think all online journals should include share buttons.

Poetry Magazine is another online journal doing an anniversary celebration. I was a featured poet there about a dozen years ago so was recently invited to submit a poem for the anniversary anthology. I sent my poem “Hunger in the Garden,” a poem written in American sentences. The credit line is for some reason missing, but the poem was first published by Valparaiso Poetry Review and appears in my book, Temptation by Water.
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Last week I was delighted to learn that poet and blogger Margo Roby had posted one of her weekly poetry prompts and had used as her inspiration one of the Bonus Prompts from my book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop. Margo could easily have just taken credit for the idea, but she generously gave me credit even though she’d added a good deal to the prompt and really made it hers. Check it out and write a new poem.

The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop is making its way around the globe. Its latest stop was South Africa. Witness this short but sweet review in the Cape Times.

Finally, I learned that the editors of the Mojave River Review have nominated “Coloring,” one of the four poems I had in their inaugural issue, for a Best of the Net prize. This competition was started in 2006 by Sundress Publications with the goal of bringing more attention to and respect for online publications. Great idea! Each year’s winners appear in an online anthology. Many thanks to the editors of both the journal and Sundress. Then came more good news: the editor of Rose Red Review has nominated my poem “The Color of Magic” for a Best of the Net Award. 

Of course, then came Friday with a triple header of rejections. But that was followed this week by three acceptances, all from journals I really want to be in. Such is life. And so it goes.


  1. Yay on all of this! And yes indeed re: the community of poets via blogs!

    1. Your own blog has been an inspiration for me, Kathleen!

  2. And I love reading about your poetry news! Yay for you, Diane!!! (Also that bike poem in The Good Men Project is so wonderful!)


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