What’s so funny about peace, love and submitting poetry?

There are many poets out there diligently submitting their work. I know this because I keep picking up literary magazines with amazing poems in them. Every amazing poem published equals a diligent poet.

How does this make me feel? Guilty. Not because I wasn’t diligent last year (I wasn’t), but because if I’m not willing to go to bat for my work, who is? The good news is that I’ve decided not to bludgeon myself with guilt. Instead, each week I’ve been submitting three poems to one literary magazine. This week was number eight – eight different editors (or editorial staff) with my work.

It feels good. That is, right before it will undoubtedly feel bad – because odds are, many of those poems are going to come back to me with the email equivalent of a Xeroxed slip of paper that starts out with the words “Thank you for submitting your work, but…”

Here’s where the peace and love come in – I will stand up for my poems as if they were my children. When they come back across the threshold with playground mud on their knees, I will dust them off, give them a cookie and send them back out. Poetry is the bright impossible task before me, and publishing is part of it. I don’t write for catharsis (even though it may be cathartic), I write to communicate – which implies two people, the writer and the reader. And if it sometimes feels impossible, I will remember that Theodore Roethke said, “What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible.”


5 Replies to “What’s so funny about peace, love and submitting poetry?”

  1. That sounds exactly right. Believe in and defend and nurture those poems! I was saying to my husband today, “Some days I just want someone besides me to believe in me!” but at least that meant I believe in me! I am glad you believe in your poems. They will find the right homes.

  2. Thank you for writing this!
    I’ve been running myself through the wringer for not submitting more. Having read your thoughtful essay, I feel encouraged and less judgmental of myself. Thank you!

  3. Hello.
    Every couple of months or so, I lick my wounds from those same rejection slips, at least the ones who bother to send them, but I don’t let it deter me. I still write…it’s my passion, I still share & I still have hopes of becoming a published author. I know readers enjoy my work…they tell me so and they keep coming back time & time again to leave me words of encouragement & inspiration. Keep on believing in yourself and your dreams. Your time (and mine) will come (smile).
    Wishing you all the best.
    Thanks for sharing.

    A Cheerful Glance

  4. This is a great goal! My goal this year is to submit to at least 10 journals a month. That has been harder than I ever thought! I barely made my goal in January, and this month I have only submitted to two places. I need to pick up the speed!

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