marketing poetry

11 posts

Brodsky and the Business of Writing

Sorry jumbo shrimp, but there is no bigger oxymoron than “the business of writing.” Even Thomas Jefferson would find this truth self-evident.

I was reminded of it while reading Shauna Osborn’s poem “panic stricken uncertainties & the business of writing” in the June 2018 issue of Poetry. The poem kicks off with a Joseph Brodsky quote, to wit:

“In the business of writing what one accumulates is not expertise but uncertainties. Which is but another name for craft. In this filed, where expertise invites doom, the notions of adolescence and maturity get mixed up, and panic is the most frequent state of mind. So I would be lying if I resorted to chronology or to anything that suggests a linear process. A school is a factory is a poem is a prison is academia is boredom, with flashes of panic.”

A great definition of the business of selling poems, I think. It is equal parts panic and confusion. Brodsky also was prescient in seeing uncertainties as another name for Craft. (I wonder if he said this before I was born.)

The string of metaphors in the last line of the quote tells us that Brodsky hasn’t a clue as to methodology. “Selling” poetry is like shooting in the dark. Sometimes something yelps. It’s called a willing market.

The trouble with marketing poetry is time. Poets can lose a year of their lives waiting for a single editor to say yea or nay, and years are finite. Imagine, then, what four “no’s” cost you. Four years of your finite life!

For this reason, among others, time interested Brodsky, too:

“Basically, it’s hard for me to assess myself, a hardship not only prompted by the immodesty of the enterprise, but because one is not capable of assessing himself, let alone his work. However, if I were to summarize, my main interest is the nature of time. That’s what interests me most of all. What time can do to a man.”

In the end, Brodsky understood that society and readers played a role in the business of writing, too. Somehow poetry has become ghettoized by the storm troopers of literature, fiction and nonfiction.

Readers are complicit as well, spending with abandon on the uniformed thugs of writing genres while never even considering a walk toward the poetry section in a bookstore (“What? There’s a poetry section in bookstores?”) Some final Brodsky words of wisdom:

“By writing… in the language of his society, a poet takes a large step toward it. It is society’s job to meet him halfway, that is, to open his book and read it.”

Meet a poet halfway today. Read his or her poetry book.

Finding Your Full-Court Poetry Press

Finding a publisher for your ready-to-go manuscript is not for the faint of heart. On the one hand, it seems there are millions to choose from, and on the other hand, it seems there are none that are just right.

Sure, if you are a known entity with a seat at the round table within poetry’s ivory tower, you’re all set.  Poetry journals have published whatever you sent their way, in some cases regardless of the quality. Big-name publishers with public relations departments to help with advertising and sales are ready to listen and joust for the rights to publication.

That’s if.

But let’s get back to the world as we know it. For the rest of us, who score publication in somewhat known and unknown journals (with the occasional breakthrough in a bigger-deal journal, perhaps), finding a publisher means time and money. Yours.

Vanity press, you ask? Like “used car,” that term has gone out of style in favor of euphemisms (“pre-owned,” anyone?). But yes, in spirit, they exist. A publisher who offers soup to nuts in the publication process for your book, sight unseen, is one that is willing to print anything for the money. The BIG money. This is a vanity press.

Then there are publishers who will publish your work only after reading it, liking it, and seeing an acknowledgements page that proves 25-50% of the poems have been accepted and published by journals and ezines. In this case, you may get a few books free, but for the most part will have to buy your own books at a discount. The more books you order, the bigger the discount.

Still, the publisher is in this game for profit. It’s up to the author to sell books on her own if any monies are to come her way. As for royalties, read the fine print. They are seldom offered and, when they are, seldom achieved by the unknown or little known poet, anyway, making them a moot point, dollar-wise. Poetry collections sell like space heaters in Hell, as a rule.

And yes, you can always take the self-publishing route, which lies through amazon’s CreateSpace and other outfits. But if you want a more traditional trajectory, you face these questions: Where to go? When to go?

It’s a money proposition, mostly. Sure, some publishers do not charge reading fees, but more do. Then there’s the contest game. You may enter your manuscript in contests, but at $25-$45 a clip, you are hoeing that row to the poor farm.

And where is the action at, anyway? My advice is to read the biographical blurbs of poets published in magazines. They will often cite past books, their publishers, and the year of publication. Pay special note to those published in the past three years, as many small, independent publishers go under over time, then visit those publishers’ web sites to see the lay of the land.

Looking at the bios at the back of Poetry magazines from the months of September, October, and November, for instance, I see that, over the past three years, the following publishers have put out books by poets:


University of Pittsburgh Press
University of Arkansas Press
Wesleyan University Press
Southern Indiana Review Press
Louisiana State University Press
Hesterglock Press
Willow Publishing
Flood Editions
Graywolf Press
University of Notre Dame Press
Bloof Books
University of Nebraska Press
Milkweed Editions
BOA Editions
Haymarket Books
Offord Road Books
University of Chicago Press
Tolsun Books
Academic Studies Press
Lost Horse Press
fog machine press
Tin House Books
Noemi Press
Alice James Press
Copper Canyon Press
Diode Editions
Spork Press
University of Washington Press
Arc Publications
Kent State University Press
Veliz Books
Harvard University Press
Carcanet Press
New Issues

I have tried to leave out the heavy-hitters reserved for limelight poets (W.W. Norton, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Ecco, etc.). I have also left out known vanity publishers who make you pay-all or require the selling x number of books to ensure their own profits.

What remains on the above list by no means guarantees a happy match, but it’s a start and it’s an education.

Bottom line: Artists have to be businessmen, too, and THAT’S an education. A necessary one. For those ready to dive in and market their poetry collection, good luck! If anyone would like to add a reputable publisher of poetry to the list, feel free to use the comments sections.

Thanks, I Needed That!

Once upon a time on a television far, far away, there was a strange series of commercials for Mennen Skin Bracer that featured the catchy byline “Thanks, I needed that!”

Those words quickly entered the lexicon of everyday America, with people, for various reasons, offering sincere or tongue-in-cheek gratitude under the precedence of Mennen’s advertising wisdom.

For those who submit poetry online, the “Thanks, I Needed That!” mentality looms large. Using Submittable as a tracking device, we launch dozens of our poetic progenies into the endless vacuum of hyperspace, then retire to the waiting room from Hell where we wait. And wait. And wait.

Honest, the wait-time has reached epic proportions. Months peel off the calendar. Soon responses have taken longer than it takes for a baby to enter the world. Soon you’re knocking on a year’s time with no news.

The journals are that backed up. Too many submissions. Too few readers.

Given that, imagine a market that prides itself on rapid response, even to the point of flaunting it on their “About” pages. University journals, with their deep benches (as they say in basketball) of student-readers, are especially suited to quick turnarounds.

As Exhibit A, I offer you The Penn Review’s “About” page. Note the words “Currently ranked as one of the 25 Fastest Fiction & Poetry Markets in Duotrope’s database, we strive to respond to all submissions within a week, and are currently averaging a 2-3 day response time.”

You read correctly: A response to your blindly-read poems in three days is unheard of (at least until you tune your ears to the University of Pennsylvania). The frustrated poet, whose line-up of submissions on Submittable currently resembles a 300-year-old redwood tree, can’t help but give it a go, even if it leads to a “no.”

That’s right. Go ahead, UPenn. Reject me! But do it quickly, please, like removing a Band-Aid. Fast. Ouchless.

Show me someone’s out there, in other words. Someone actually reading my work. And then, if you deny my five poems your editorial love, at least let me move on and try them elsewhere (or let me back them into a poetry port for some additional body work).

I promise to speak highly of you, even if you reject me. I’ll do it in the name of expeditiousness. I’ll sing your praises. I won’t even fuss over the rejections, if it comes to that. In fact, I’ll crow, “Thanks, I needed that!” and pass on the skin-tightening after-shave.

Sometimes doing your job quickly is all it takes to make friends in this world, especially if it’s the tortoise-paced poetry world where all manner of shell games take place.

Note to other journals: See how easy…? Go ahead. Make like Menen and slap yourselves in the face. You’ll be happy you did!

The Siren Call of Submittable: Part 2


Yesterday I wrote at length (for me) about ways Submittable has shifted the playing field for writers and literary magazines alike. Today: How Submittable fosters bad writer habits.

For literary magazines, Submittable giveth (to the bottom line, as magazines keep 62% of reading-fee proceeds) and it taketh away (the ability to staff readers who can keep up with the onslaught of submissions).

And for writers, Submittable giveth and taketh away, too. The “giveth” is convenience and record-keeping and making more markets financially-healthy to send to. The “taketh away”? Mounting costs (what writer keeps track?) from the aggregate hits these submissions make on our savings over time. And competition. Lots and lots of competition. Easy for you is easy for everybody. Eventually the odds begin to look like lottery ticket wins: steeper than steep.

But what I want to wax eloquent on today is Submitta-Mania (a disease caused by the ease of Submittable’s portals). Why are writers of all stripes ability-wise in this headlong rush to get published, ipso fasto. By yesterday, if possible?

There’s the easy answer: affirmation. Hidden in every writer (maybe even the established and famous ones) is a dark voice that says things like “Do I suck?” and “Was that acceptance the exception?” and “Am I capable of doing it again?”

Self-doubt, as we know, is one of the Four Riders of the Apocalypse.

But I attribute the rush to submit to social media as well. It’s the cocaine candy of our times.

Think about it: What makes people constantly check their phones? Why do people crave “likes” on Facebook? Why do egos on Twitter want way more followers than those they follow? Ego, ego, ego. The relentless need to trick yourself into the notion that you are somebody. Not only somebody, but somebody “big.” A player.

Oh, yeah. What fools these mortals be, and all that.

This leads me to the theory that writing for publication, and better yet for paying publication, is part of the drive to submit. Technology feeds short attention spans, which come not only in the form of what we’ll read and for how long, but in what we’ll revise and for how long. The result? We pony up the poetry and click submit, sometimes at $3 a hit, far sooner than we should.

Do you like me, pretty please? the submission wants to know. Ah, no, the first intern says while checking his phone mid-your poem. Thus your precious poetry fails to come within a statute mile of its target editor. And thus it returns like a bad penny in your inbox.

By now you know where this is going. Self-discipline is more important than ever. Writers are part of the problem when they ship poetry only written in the last 60 days to The New Yorker (response time: one year) and Tin House (one year and umpty-eight weeks).

Instead, think “we will sell no wine before its time.” Or, if you’re hosting Thanksgiving in a few weeks, this: Would you take the turkey out halfway through its roasting time and put it on a platter before your guests? (Yes, this makes a big turkey of your poem.)

How about this: Would you put on half  your clothes before going out to work?

Does this work?: Would you paint half your house and look at that side only with admiration for a month or two?

The stuff we write is mischievous as hell. It is a shape shifter par excellence. It beguiles and flatters like an illusion in the desert. Trust it as far as you can throw it. And if it says “no” to further revision, you say “yes,” most likely after you’ve sent it to its room for a month or four. Seeing it again after 120 days will change everything. Everything.

And that, my friends, can’t help but be all for the better. Not only for your art and pride, but for your nickel-and-dimed bottom line.

Try Non-GMO, Organic, Locavore Poetry!


Recently I read a sad statistic. The average print-on-demand book (the typical publishing model for poets who do not self-publish and who do not have the name recognition of the big boppers) sells only 35-40 copies. Why? Because that number happens to match the average number of friends and family members in the POD poet’s circle.

This is why so many poets are ambitious about their readings. There are better chances at augmenting sales–however minutely–by barnstorming the reading circuit.

As any poet will tell you, reading crowds can be as small as zero (try reading to THAT) and, even when there are numbers, there are not always buyers, especially at affairs with open mics where most of the audience consists of others waiting to read their poems.

Here’s the thing, though. Many POD poets I’ve read are talented, indeed. The trouble is, POD publishers do not engage in any marketing on behalf of these writers. It is totally up to the poet, who really doesn’t have the means to reach the masses. No book editor at a major paper or magazine or e-zine is about to review their collection. No podcast by The New York Times will come within a statute mile of discussing it, either. Meanwhile, the few readers (discounting other poets) who DO read poetry are out buying the usual suspects–poets published by major publishers with an ample marketing budget.

To use a food metaphor in this era of foodies, the little companies-that-could have little chance against the giant food corporations (read: Big Food) because the grocery store is stacked in favor of… Big Food.

But wait. In recent years, Davids of the food world have successfully made inroads on the seemingly-impregnable Goliaths called Big Food. Under the banners of “non-GMO” and “organic,” they’ve charged more money for a quality product that consumers have been willing to pay for and consume.

Why does the equivalent not happen in poetry book sales, then? Most readers would argue they cannot part with the $12-$18 your typical paperback, POD collection of poetry costs–not for an unknown name who might have little talent.

The operative word? “Might.”

But what if your non-GMO, organic poet is pretty damn good? You need not roll the dice to find out by buying the book on a hope. You need only search the internet with the poet’s name. Chances are good that some of the poet’s work is published by on-line ‘zines in addition to paper ones unavailable on the web. OR, go to the poet’s web page (this much most DO have), where sample poems are almost always waiting to be sampled via links created for your convenience (think of the free food stations shoppers gobble up on Friday nights at Whole Foods).

Look. Readers are good people willing to put their money into something they believe in–the arts. All it takes for this paradigm shift, from always BIG guys to sometimes LITTLE guys, is a little research and, most importantly, a casting off of assumptions.

Meaning: You can’t assume that the only poets worth reading are familiar names published by familiar publishers. That’s like saying Nestlé, Kraft, PepsiCo, Unilever, Kellogg, and General Mills are the only food and beverage companies worth buying because they are the only ones supplying quality foods and beverages.

Readers of poetry are the only ones who can break the monopoly on readers held by Big Bopper Poetry Presses. You don’t know what you’re missing until you look into some POD poetry books that have been vetted and accepted by a small press publisher or even published by the author herself.

Bottom line: Do a little research and reading on the web. Go panning for gold. Then support some up-and-coming poets for readers on your holiday gift list. The recipients may just feel like they are on the cusp of something penny-stock big as opposed to chasing yesterday’s hot blue chipper.

Nota Bene: I considered posting links to POD poets’ books here by way of recommendations, but then I realized doing so was sure to offend someone whose book I left out. Therefore, I leave the search to poetry readers who otherwise would only buy books–as gifts or for themselves–with names like Mary Oliver and Billy Collins on them. Enjoy your samples!



Unlike major publishing houses, small, independent publishers have no marketing budget to speak of, so they depend upon word-of-mouth enthusiasm among their readers. Help keep the word-of-mouth momentum rolling for Lost Sherpa of Happiness by visiting Amazon for a copy of this grassroots favorite today.

Rich Poets and Other Mythological Beasts


A lot of people want to be writers, but the day-to-day reality of it isn’t easy. What works is being obsessed with writing. Like looking at your cellphone–instead of “I can’t get through my day without constantly checking for texts,” it’s “I can’t get through my day if I don’t write!” Instead of “Must. Look. At. My. Cell.” it’s “Must. Write. Something. Now!” Instead of ignoring the person across from you at the dinner table by engaging with your binkie (read: phone), it’s ignoring the person no longer across from you at the dinner table because you stole away to your writing place (read: your writing place).

It is both tempting and amusing for writers to dream big. They think of fame in their chosen field. Not only fame, but its trickster cousin twice removed, fortune. The mansion. The pool. The publishers on the phone begging for another book because they just sold movie rights to the last.

I suppose there’s a camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle chance that these dreams might come true for novelists and screen writers, but poets? It is to laugh.

Can we really picture Billy Collins wearing sunglasses at night (á la Corey Hart) while he goes to New York restaurants so he won’t be mobbed by groupies for autographs (which he would be forced to sign in blank verse, of all things)?

Or how about Mary Oliver living in one of those “looks simple but costs a fortune” ranches out in the wilderness (which her lawyer bought for her)? The great unwashed can work 9 to 5, but Mary punches the clock by going outside at 10 a.m., watching a few Canada geese fly over, and returning home for lunch served by a nutritionist/cook. Her afternoon looks like this: a nap.

Since we truck in literary terminology, let’s get this straight right out of the proverbial gate: “Rich poet” is an oxymoron. No poet ever made his or her fortune on poetry. But it’s human nature, I suppose, to happily delude oneself. Like buying scratch lottery tickets. “Maybe this time… maybe me…”

Uh, no. “Maybe not” is what you’re looking for.

So it’s Onward Christian (or Jewish or Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu, atheist or agnostic) Soldier. You can’t write for the money, you must write for the intrinsic reward. And intrinsic rewards, on the going market, don’t pay much. Hope, then, that they pay attention. At the very least. For poems, attention is as good as cash. Readers are riches. If a hundred people read your poem, it’s as good as a hundred dollars.

Instead of Benjamin, just picture readers crowded onto that legal tender. And keep the change!


Two copies of  Lost Sherpa of Happiness left at Amazon. More on the way! (That’s click bait. That’s also rich.)

The Simul-Sub Dilemma


Simultaneous submissions, like the Internet, are both boon and bane. They giveth and they taketh away. As a writer, you love journals that accept simultaneous submissions because they maximize your poems’ chances for publication. But…

First the little “but.” The niggling problem–a nice one to have–comes when you get an acceptance. You have to go through the courtesy of letting other markets know that the poem you simul-sent is taken. This means record-keeping. And though Submittable is a helpful tool, many markets are still mail-in and e-mail only. They mustn’t be forgotten, lest your name show up on a black list of rogue poets.

And now the big “but” (no cheeky jokes, please). Responses to poetry submissions are notoriously slow. Let’s say you’ve written a batch of poems you have high hopes for. These are your “breakthrough poems,” the ones that will vault you into such heavenly markets (both pay-scale-wise and prestige-wise) as Poetry and The New Yorker. It so happens that both of those publications accept simultaneous submissions. Yay, you say.

But hold on a minute. Yay? Really? If your best stuff becomes a simul-sub and you send it to the big boys, you know and I know that the response time from said big boys will be up around a year due to gazillions of Wanna-Frosts out there. A year! Meantime, if they’re that good, the poems are sure to be snapped up by smaller markets, ones that would not fall into your “first choice” and “greatest hope” categories. (Sound like the college submissions process all over again?)

There’s the rub. And the solution has a “deep blue sea” look to it, too, now that you think you’ve solved the devil. Let’s say you send your five best exclusively to The New Yorker. That market, tighter than two coats of paint, means the odds of slipping a poem in remain minute. Certainly less than one percent!

So the solution of voluntarily making a simul-sub market a “no simul-subs allowed” market could fail mightily and cost you a year in the life. A year in the life! (I repeat.)

What a way to make a living. And a decision.

Of course, if you generate enough poetry, sending exclusively becomes easier, so I guess that is the ultimate solution to this conundrum. Still, time and odds are not a poet’s friend. And who would’ve believed that strategy and playing the odds–such unartistic talents–would figure so prominently in the writing arc of poets’ careers?

But thanks to the odd bedfellows of writing poetry and marketing poetry, that’s just the case. If you invent a solution, let us know. And if not, I hear there’s money in building a better mousetrap….

Cold Comfort: Poems That Make the Big-Time


Reading published poems–especially poems published in the heavyweight division, where you find periodicals like The New Yorker–can be both frustrating and edifying. Before I count the ways, let me share a poem published in the The New Yorker’s Aug. 28th issue:

SON by Craig Morgan Teicher

I don’t even know where my father lives.
I know his number, and whenever
I call he answers and gives
the usual update about getting together
with the stepkids and their kids,
about the latest minor crises
with his health, about what he did
with Maryanne for their anniversary.
He lives somewhere in Connecticut,
near where he lived before.
It’s been easy not to go there, but
I know I should–there won’t always be more
time. There will always be less.
I don’t even know my father’s address.

Here’s the conversation in my head–or shall I say, between my shoulders. You know, the one between the kind angel on the right and the surly devil on the left.

KA: Wow. Heartwarming sonnet. For me, the key line is “I know I should–there won’t always be more time.” It’s a message that resonates for all of us.

SD: Clichés resonate, too. That doesn’t mean they deserve a precious three inches in The New Yorker.

KA: Finally, a poem that doesn’t leave your average reader scratching his head! It’s poems like this that can bring poetry back into the mainstream.

SD: Still, a little heft counts for something. This is prosaic, mundane, drab. Editors of lesser magazines would have given it the boilerplate rejection letter upon one reading.

KA: Did you give it a chance? Did you read it more than once? Did you note its form and rhyme? Good poetry merits more than one reading, as you know.

SD: Please. Don’t patronize me just because your shoulder is right. Rereading poetry offers its rewards, but only if there is a challenge or special beauty in the words, not if your father lives in Somewhere, Connecticut.

KA: So you’re jealous, in other words. One of the Seven Deadly Sins.

SD: I’m inspired, actually. One of the Seven Deadly Hopes. If “Son” passes muster in a big glossy like this, then surely I, too, might make a big splash in the Big Apple.

KA: I won’t begrudge you that, though I believe they closed their submissions page on July 3rd and will not open it again until the fall.

SD: Never say the word “fall” around a devil.

KA: Pardonez and moi, Sir, but it gives you that much more time to revise whatever it is you’re working on.

SD: A Shakespearean sonnet called “Daughter,” if you must know. Rhyming more or probably less. The magic number is 14. All other sonnet rules fall into the “As You Like It” department.

KA: Good luck, Son. And don’t forget to abab cdcd efef gg visit your Father! If you can match “Son,” you deserve to be published!

What? Over-Submitting?


Most writers are fond of proclaiming their devotion to the craft (ahem) of writing and by saying this explains their lack of discipline in marketing their work. Fair enough. These are two different skills, no doubt from two different hemispheres of the brain: Samarkand has a goal of submitting work to ten markets today, while Asunción wants to write art for art’s sake (how noble… and lonely)!

Over the course of my development as a writer, I’ve worked hard to develop the Uzbekistan side of the tracks. I have a special Word document of markets divided into two categories: Submissions by Poetry Journals and Submissions by Poem Title.

Using the “Table” function, I created rows for “Date Sent,” “Title(s),” “Accepted or Rejected,” and “Expected Publication Date.” It’s been a lifesaver.

Why? Because you can become an over-submitter. Yes, the web site called Submittable can be a life-saver, but not all submissions go through that growing monopoly and the growing $3 “not-a-reading-fee” fees participating journals often engage in there. Many journals have their own submission managers, some still use trusty attachments to e-mails, and then, stubbornly in the corner, we have the hold-outs who still insist on good-old postal submissions with self-addressed stamped envelopes (SASES). I mark these special cases with an asterisk in the “Date Sent” column.

The tricky part comes when your poems get accepted. The more simultaneous submissions you have, the bigger pain it becomes to notify all parties. As Ben Franklin (or was it Mark Twain?) once said: “Simultaneous submissions giveth, and simultaneous submissions taketh away.”

The Submittable markets are easiest to alert because you can simply add a note on that site to inform the editors they have one less masterpiece to choose from. Beyond that, you’re often looking up e-mails of editors and/or special instructions on the web pages of all of the other journals submitted to.

One adjustment I might make, then, is adding “Contact Info” to any market that does not use Submittable. This way my Word document will help me to expedite obligations to other editors considering the “sold” poem.

Should there be set limits on how many markets any one poem is courting at any given moment? That’s a personal call. Right now my most marketed poem is waiting in the editorial offices of ten different journals. It’s a sign of my own confidence in the poem, my own incredulity that it hasn’t been snapped up yet.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s my baby. We all play favorites, and as any parent can tell you, when you play favorites, you necessarily overlook flaws.

Whatever the method, you need to have one. You need balance between your artist persona and your business persona. As to the question of over-marketing work? That depends on your ledger-keeping prowess. If you can manage 25 markets-per-poem, more power to you.

Just remember, if the same poem is rejected by dozens of markets over time, haul it into the body shop for some work, maybe. Or face reality. Acknowledge samsara and set it free….

My Rejection Note, Their Marketing Tool


Writers attract rejection via the inbox like electricity draws dust via static cling. It’s just part of the game. Sometimes, though, Emperor Nero publications add thumbs-down insult to injury, salt to wound, in- to dignity, when they use rejections as marketing opportunities. You know. Something like this:

Dear Writer:

Thanks for submitting your work to Poems R Us, where the acceptance rate is 1.487 %. After careful (of a sort..) consideration, we have decided that your poems are not the right fit for us — a size 13 extra-wide trying to wedge into a size 8 narrow, to be exact — but wish you the best of luck in finding this a home elsewhere (read: a publication nowhere near as prestigious and cutting-edge as ours).

If you haven’t already, you might consider giving Poems R Us‘s current issue a look HERE. Our archives of great poetry written by great poets can be found HERE. Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter HERE and HERE. Share the link to our website with your friends, virtual, real,  and make-believe. Remember, we are home to the very best poetry appearing both in print and on the Internet.


Peter L’Editor
Poems R Us (But Not U)

Later, you begin to receive e-mails at the rate of two a week from this same periodical trumpeting this issue, that contest, these “insider” writers. Eventually, due to excessive swelling of the inbox, you’re forced to click UNSUBSCRIBE and wonder if invitations to submit are more likely invitations to add to mailing lists, to reading-fee coffers, and to overall data fodder.

That said, you must remain an optimist of the first order. Looking at the bright side — it’s nice to feel wanted, even if it’s you and not your work. And it kind of makes you feel like part of the greater poetry community, no? Kind of.

Ah, well. In the words of the prophet: Keep believing, keep writing, and keep trusting that more doors will open if you do.