My poem A Note from the Narrator was chosen for the shortlist at this month’s Guardian workshop. This is very exciting for me, but it also occured to me when I read my name there that I had neglected to point other poets to this wonderful resource. Every month, the Guardian hosts a new workshop wherein a published poet writes an exercise, asks for submissions, and chooses a few of those to place on the page with commentary. Past workshops have included “the difficult,” “the overfamiliar,” and many others. It’s an excellent resource for poets (and I’ve used the themes to write flash fiction as well), especially when the wells are running a bit dry. I’ve participated every month since I discovered this workshop. This is the first time one of my poems has been chosen. It isn’t, by any means, guarenteed exposure, but it is a terrific way to find some inspiration and challenge yourself to write something new.
I can’t even being to express my anger at CNN now giving only the briefest glimpse of the video created by Amanda Baggs, “In My Language” before switching to an advertisement to charge $2.95 per month or $24.95 per year for “CNN Pipeline” which “allows” you access to the news you can get on television for free. In order to see only 10 minutes of this video, you now have to pay for the privilege. But guess what? I found a free link to the entire video at YouTube. And I doubt I’ll be going to CNN for anything ever again. To use this important video as a way to make money for themselves is disgusting to me. Here they had an opportunity to really make a difference and they chose profit over morality.
Nearly every book about getting published lists the same advice: research your market, follow submission guidelines, and don’t get discouraged. Naturally, there’s a hitch in each one of these small wisdoms. A person simply can’t research every possible market that publishes the kind of work they write. This is especially true of “literary” writing and poetry, neither of which has significantly clear delineations of content like “genre fiction” has. Following submission guidelines can be tricky when a market lists nothing more than “short story, double-spaced” (how many words? what kind of story? page numbers go where?) or “poems in the body of an email” (how many poems? what about formatting? which editor do I send it to?). But the hardest advice to follow is, “Don’t get discouraged.”