Dog Days for Poetry Markets


According to The Facts on File Encyclopedia or Word and Phrase Origins (3rd Edition), the expression “dog days” comes to us compliments of the Romans (who apparently couldn’t stay in one place and were always roamin’ around). “Dog days” refer to those torrid July and August days up ahead here in the northern hemisphere and are actually related to a star:

“The expression originated in Roman times as canicularis dies, “days of the dog,” and was an astronomical expression referring tot the dog star Sirius, or possibly Procyon. The Romans linked the rising of the Dog Star, the most brilliant star in the constellation, Canis Major, with the sultry summer heat, believing that the star added to the extreme heat of the sun.”

For poets, the dog days strike early, following the arc of university schedules. As so many poetry markets come to us thanks to the support of university journals and magazines, poets clicking through markets are now discovering dog days of submittable drought. Many markets, closed in April or May, are shouting “No current calls for submissions” on their web pages, and most won’t open again until September.

Perhaps more than any other writer, poets face seasonal challenges when it comes to getting their work published. The upside? Summer is a great time to make writing part of  rest and relaxation, to generate material for the fall. Poetry even takes to the sun (think “beach write” instead of “beach read”). It mixes with dogs, too, as Robert Frost proved dog-years ago:


Canis Major

The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
With a star in one eye
Gives a leap in the east.
He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.
I’m a poor underdog,
But to-night I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark.


If anyone has hot leads in the way of summer opportunities for publishing poets, share them in the comments section. Meanwhile, keep writing and keep appreciating man’s best friend, be he at your side or in the skies.