poetry submissions

2 posts

Random Thoughts on Another Mother’s Day in May

  • It’s Mother’s Day (don’t forget the apostrophe). Have you called your mother yet? If you have siblings, you should aim to be the first because delays are like weeds. Some people never get out of them.
  • This post is a 4-minute read. I heard you’re supposed to put that up front on everything busy people read these days, but I’m late. It took you six seconds to get this far, by the way.
  • Why do people have such little patience for reading but endless patience for the internet and TV? When you log on to the internet, do you see a page that warns you “6 hours” before you get lost clicking here, there, and everywhere?
  • Finally, some 70-degree (Fahrenheit) weather has found Maine. Every year, Maine is in fair Mr. Fahrenheit’s mostly lost and rarely found bin.
  • Speaking of lost, non-Americans may wonder how we not only lost Celsius but the metric system.
  • 70-degree weather can only mean pine pollen will soon cast a yellow pall over anything outside (or inside, should you leave the windows open).
  • Want to impress your kids? Watch a streaming movie they’d never guess you would on TV (any zombie movie will do), then tell them you actually liked it. They love to box and package your take on the world, so any unwrapping you can do is always fun.
  • Nota bene: If you do the above, be prepared for many more recommendations on what to watch.
  • Spring of 2023 and already we’re seeing too much politics related to 2024. As if we’d recovered from 2020! No, no, and no.
  • I love how people can get logical about President Biden’s age and the dangers of his running for office again but NOT get logical about the dangers of a psychopathic, sociopathic narcissist (among other things) running for office again. Remember selective hearing? This is selective logic.
  • How many outstanding poetry submissions is too many outstanding poetry submissions?
  • Better question: How long should a poetry submission be outstanding (read: “In Progress”) on Submittable? Slow progress. That’s the motto for understaffed, overtaxed poetry staffs.
  • I love it when you pay a $3 reading fee for a journal that never gets back to you. Literally never, I mean. After a year you query and they never get back to you. After 18 months you query and they never get back to you. So you use email vs. Submittable’s message system, but they never get back to you. Meanwhile, they’ve opened up new submissions reading periods as a means of collecting more reading fees (or, as they call them, “Ka-Ching! fees). I recently had this experience with the Southampton Review. What’s Latin for “Let the Submitter Beware”? It should be on the Submissions page of outfits like this.
  • Did you call your mother yet?
  • Speaking of matters maternal (and maternal always matters, let me tell you), it’s interesting that States-side we say “Mom” and Over the Pond-side they say “Mum.” I’ll keep mum on my opinion on that because Mom jokes (and Mum jokes) are not allowed on an upstanding website like this.
  • Am I the only one bewildered by all the streaming costs out there in TV-land? If only we could choose รก la carte what channels we want, because most of these cable and streaming services are top-heavy with channels we never look at (or have reason to).
  • I’ve learned the hard way, too, that the channels you DO want are almost never ALL included under one umbrella. Instead, you’d have to pay for “plus” this and “plus” that. Interesting that anything with a “+” sign after it’s name will often lead to a “-” sign on your savings account’s activity log. (I think we’re back to “Ka-Ching Nation” now, further proof that we are indeed a Corporatocracy).
  • Why are you still reading this? You should be talking to your mother!
  • Walking the beach, I’m amazed at how many dogs are well-behaved and stay by their owner’s side instead of charging after people and other dogs like all of my dogs of the past used to. Wow, I say to myself. I wonder if this dog, at its home, actually stays off the furniture and out of its owner’s bed, too.
  • Dogs on the floor used to be “the way” in olden times, but now, in a world where dogs and cats have superseded humans in status, it’s rare indeed.
  • Your mother, if you were talking to her now, would warn you about all that pet hair in your sheets and on your pillow.
  • I like how POETRY the august (even in May) poetry journal has come under new leadership that does tributes to certain authors in each issue. They typically include a bunch of their poems as part of the tribute, too. Usually they’re under the radar poets that we should know better. In a world where a lot of us don’t know better, that’s a good thing.
  • If you write a poem and it falls in the wilderness, does it make a noise?
  • While you have her on the line, ask your mother. Guaranteed she’ll have an answer.

Poets? They Know Godot!


Though few of us have seen it, Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot is familiar to us all. It’s a play about nothing. Two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for someone named Godot (note the surprise inside, the word “God”), only instead of someone they get no one. And a lot of waiting. Thus talking. Thus a play about waiting. And talking.

Circles, anyone? And why does the plot of Waiting for Godot remind me of the life of a poet? Let me make like Barrett Browning and count the ways.

Poets do a lot of waiting. First and foremost, for the inspiration of ideas. Second, for the “time” to write (or so they say, as they check their cell phone for the umpteenth time in the past ten minutes). And third for the discipline to write and then revise (wait for it) over and over and over and over and over again.

All of this waiting allows the poet to play Vladimir or Estragon all he wants. In lines and stanzas, if he wishes. A sonnet, if he’s playful. Haiku will do if he’s in his briefs.

But then comes more waiting. After due diligence the poems (usually in sets of five, usually in exchange for a reading fee to keep a poetry journal afloat) are turned loose on the reading world.

Response time? Surely Godot will know! If it says three months, figure six. If it says six, figure a year. If it says nine (It’s a boy! No, it’s a girl!), you may never hear back.

Keep records all you want, but keep a duster, too, so you can feather off the dates and scratch your waiting head.

There are other ways poets know Godot, I fear. Sometimes they share their poetry with other poets for criticism. Sometimes these poems are yet unpublished. Sometimes these poems are not only already published but in book form.

Nevertheless, engaging in such foolishness—especially with a poet who is more “established” (a relative term, like “uncle” and “Grandma”) than you—is just asking for the Godot treatment. Promises, after all, are the waiting experts (or so it says in their ad).

Such is the way of the world, friends. Which means? Beckett nailed it, and I can’t wait to see his play some day. And when I do, I’ll go into full solipsist mode, shouting, “Hey! It’s true! This is a play about me!”

Then I’ll look in the mirror. And see Godot.