Monday, December 15, 2014

Some Thoughts on Using Poetry Prompts


I was recently delighted to come across Amorak Huey’s article, “Writing Poems from Prompts,” in the 2015 Poet’s Market. The article made me happy because I’m a poet who enjoys the challenge of prompts. I know that not all poets do and some even dismiss them and say that “real poets” don’t use prompts. I know lots of real poets who do indeed use them, and I count myself among them. I find, as does Huey, that a prompt will push me in a direction I might not otherwise have traveled. I enter new territory, sometimes strange and surprising. I’m given ideas on days when I just don’t have any. Who among doesn’t have some of those days? I also like prompts because they often compel me to focus on some aspect of craft; thus, I grow as a poet. Huey quotes professor W. Todd Kaneko who says, “. . . I think writing prompts are most useful when they are based around an element of craft.” Me too. If you subscribe to my Poetry Newsletter, you already know that I agree with this. If you have my book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, you know I agree that prompts are cool.

Huey’s article includes a list of five tips for using prompts effectively. My favorite tip is #3: “If one prompt is falling flat, combine it with another. The creative process benefits immensely from the friction of two disparate forces.” Read the entire article to get the other four tips.

The article ends with a “List of Six Stellar Sources of Poetry Prompts.” I was tickled silly to find The Crafty Poet included! Here’s the entire list, one blog plus five books. You might also consider this a list of suggestions for holiday gifts for your students, your pals, and yourself.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

How Much Are You Willing to Pay?


As you know, many print journals now use online submission managers such as Submittable for submissions. Many of these journals are no longer willing to accept snail mail submissions. That’s fine with me. Makes my life easier. In the past few years, several of these journals have begun to charge a submission fee, usually $2 or $3. Although some poets I know are very annoyed about this and some of them refuse to submit to any journal that charges a submission fee, I’m not particularly bothered by it. Seems like a fair trade-off to me. I don’t have to use up my paper supply, two envelopes, postage for the sending and the SASE, or gas going to the post office. At their end, the journals get a little compensation for printing out submissions or reading on screen.

However, the other day I saw the name of a print journal that was new to me, so I checked it out. I’m not going to name it but will say that this journal publishes work by women only. The journal pays $50 for fiction and non-fiction and $35 for poetry. Great. I wouldn’t mind paying a small submission fee to a journal that compensates its authors. So everything looked cool until I got to the submission part. That’s where I saw the $15 reading fee! (Yes, I put an exclamation point there to register the jolt I got at such a fee.) And that’s for just three poems. Now keep in mind that there’s a difference between a submission fee and a reading fee. I’ll pay the former but not the latter, especially when the amount is so absurdly high. It’s tantamount to paying to be published. Another irritant: they read anonymously so all identifying information must be deleted. I know that some people like that. I find it annoying as it causes me the unnecessary step of deleting the information. I think editors ought to be able to be objective with or without names.

So I’ll keep my money and they can keep theirs.

Speaking of money—Many of you, I’m sure, are familiar with Erika Dreifus and her wonderful blog, Practicing Writing, which is always loaded with useful information for writers. It’s primarily geared towards prose writers, but poets will also find it useful. Every Monday, for example, Erika makes her readers aware of no-fee, paying markets. She also sends out a monthly e-newsletter, The Practicing Writer, which is similarly filled with wonderful, up-to-date information. In the current December issue, Erika includes a list of books suggested by authors who previously played some role in her newsletter. As one of those lucky authors, I recommended Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life by Dani Shaprio (Grove Press). Both the blog and the newsletter are terrific resources for writers. You can subscribe to Erika’s newsletter at either of the preceding two links. Just scroll down in the right sidebar.

Speaking of blogs—I have previously recommended Adele Kenny’s The Music in It, and I now reiterate that recommendation. Each Saturday Adele posts a poetry prompt. Each of her prompts contains some instruction and several model poems or links to them. Readers are invited to post their drafts in the Comments section where Adele generously comments on them. Recently Adele began occasionally inviting other poets to contribute a prompt. I’m happy to have been invited twice to do that. My second guest post, The Loveliness of Words, is currently posted at the blog. It’s excerpted from my book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, and includes a wonderful model poem by Rod Jellema and a prompt based on the poem. Check it out and try the prompt.

Speaking of books—It’s time to order your holiday gift books. I hope you’ll consider The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop for the poets in your life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Print Journals That Accept Online Submissions 11/14


It's been more than a year since I last updated the list of print journals that accept online submissions. This list includes 14 additions. You'll notice that a number of the journals charge a fee for the online submission. Many submitters feel that a small fee is worth it as it saves paper, stamps, and a trip to the post office.

Journals new to the list (not necessarily new journals) are indicated with a double asterisk. 


The number of issues per year appears after the journal's name.


The reading period for each journal appears at the end of each entry.


Unless noted otherwise, the journal accepts simultaneous submissions.

As always, please let me know if you find any errors here. And good luck.



Adanna: a journal about women, for women—1x
Jan 31 - April 30

Agni—2x
Sept 1 - May 31

February 1 - May 31

all year

$3 fee

**Apogee—2x
two submission periods—check website

June 1 - November 1

check website to see if open for poetry submissions

June 1 - November 15

Bateau—2x
all year

**Bayou—2x
Sept 1-June 1

all year

Sept 15-Dec 15

all year
no sim

all year

Sept 15 - May 15

November 1-April 30 

Breakwater Review—2x
November 15 for the January issue;
April 15 for the June issue

Burnside Review—every 9 months
$3 fee / pays contributors

Caesura—2x
August 5 - Oct. 5

all year

Carbon Copy Magazine—2x
May 1st through September 1st, November 1st through March

The CarolinaQuarterly—3x       
all year

Cimarron Review—4x
all year

The Cincinnati Review—2x
Sept 1 - May 31

September 1 - May 1

**The Conium Review—2x
Jan 1-April 1

August 15-October 15 
January 31-March 31

The Cossack Review—3x
All year

Crab Creek Review—2x
Sept 15 - March 31

all year
$2 fee

August 1 to November 1
December 1 to April 1

CutBank—1-2x
October 1 thru February 15

Ecotone—2x
August 15–April 15 
$3 fee

all year

Fence—2x
check website to see if open for submissions
(must submit poems one by one)

FIELD—2x
all year
no sim

no Jan, Feb, June, or July

August thru May 
$3 fee

Fourteen Hills—2x
September 1 to January 1
March 1 to July 1

**The Fourth River—1x
July 1-Sept 1

**The Frank Martin Review—1x
all year

reads month of June
September 15 deadline for the Spring issue
February 15 deadline for the Fall issue

Grist—1x
August 15 - April 15

All year

deadlines: Winter issue: November 15
Summer issue: April 15

**Hartskill Review—3x
all year

Sept 1 - May 31

Aug 1 - Oct 1

All year
pays

Sept 1 - Dec. 15

all year

The Idaho Review—1x
Sept. 1 to April 15

rolling for 3-4 weeks at a time
check website for dates

Jubilat—2x
September 1 - May 1

September 15 - January 15
no sim
check website for submission dates

The Laurel Review—1x
$2 fee
Sept 1-May 1

**The Lindenwood Review—1x
Jul 15-Dec 15

The Literary Review—4x
Sept 30-May 31

Little Patuxent Review—2x
submission period varies—check website

Submit to Poetry Editor: lareview.poetry@gmail.com
Sept 1 - Dec 1

all year

Lumina—1x
August 1 - Nov 15

all year

**Mantis—1x
currently open for submissions
Send all poems to: mantispoetry@gmail.com

October 1 - April 30

Measure—2x
no sim
all year

July 15 - Sept. 30

Meridian—2x ($2 fee)
all year

all year

August 1–November 1 
January 1–April 1

all year

The Mom Egg—1x
June 1- Sept. 1

December, January, and February only or all year if a subscriber
August 1-May 1
$3 fee

for the Summer issue January 1 through March 1
for the Winter issue July 1 through September 1 (contest only)

no sim
Sept 1-May 31

August 15 - November 1

Sept-May (summer okay for subscribers)

Aug 15 - May 1

all year

weekly magazine
all year

September 1 - April 30

September 1-December 1 
January 15-April 15
$3 fee

**Parcel—2x
all year

Jan 1- May 1 (but on hiatus for 2012)

**Phoebe—1 print issue, i online
March 9 - Oct 31

August 15-May 15

June 1 - Jan. 15

**PMS—1x
Jan 1 thru March 31
(women only)

Poetry—11x
year round
no sim

September 15 - April 15

February 1 to April 1 for the winter issue
June 1 to August 1 for the spring issue

Sept 1-May 1

Prairie Schooner—4x
Sept 1 - May 1
no sim

September 15 - March 31

**Quiddity—2x
all year

all year
considers previously published

All year

Rattle—2x
year round

year round

all year

No June, July, August, or December
no sim

Rhino—1x
April 1 - Oct 1

Sept. 15 through Jan. 15

Rosebud—3x
All year

year round

Salmagundi—4x
February 1—April 15

August 1 - April 1

Jan 1 - Feb 1 / July 1-Aug 1

Saw Palm
1x
July 1- October 1
       
Feb. 1 - April 1
January 1 - March 1

All year

All year

August 15-October 15 for the Spring issue
January 1-March 15 for the Fall issue

All year

All year

**The Southampton Review—2x
September 1 to December 1 and from March 1 to June 1

All year

**Southern Indiana Review—2x
Sept 1-April 30

No June, July, August
$2 fee

August 15 - May 15

Sept 15 - May 15
No Sim

Spoon River Poetry Review—2x
September 15 to February 15

Sept 1-Dec 15
September 1 - April 15
No Sim       

All year

Sept 1 - Dec. 31
no sim

via email
Sept 15 - Nov. 1
no sim

Sept 15 - April 30

via email
all year

The Threepenny Review—4x
      
Jan 1 - June 30

Tiferet—1x
Sept  - December

September 1 - May 31

Sept 1 - March 1

Versal—1x
Sept 15 - Jan 15

All year

August 1 - Oct 15
Dec 15 – Feb 1

April 15 - July 31

Aug 15 - April 15

all year

all year  

check website for submission dates   

Yemassee—2x        
All year


Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Poetic Sweet Tooth


http://www.amazon.com/The-Crafty-Poet-Portable-Workshop/dp/193613862X%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAJBDF5XQBATGDX4VQ%26tag%3Dspea06-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D193613862X
I recently learned that on October 9, John Hewitt, at The Writer’s Resource Center, made me Today’s Recommended Poet: "Diane Lockward is a poet, teacher and an active blogger. Her poetry is feminine and feminist. She is smart and funny. Her poetry probes the politics of family, motherhood, and food with affection and a bit of exasperation."

Temptation by Water 2010

What Feeds Us 2006

Eve’s Red Dress 2003

"You might want to read her blog entries about voice vs. tone here and here. She also has a poetry tutorial: The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop"

Thanks, John, for that sweet recommendation!


Then on October 25, I had two poems, "Service for the Murdered Boy" and "A Murmuration of Starlings," featured in the Saturday Poetry Series at As It Ought to Be. These two poems are anything but sweet—they are quite grim, but relevant to current events. Thanks to editor Sivan Butler-Rotholz for choosing my poems.


Several years ago I began to submit poems to online journals as I came to believe that all poets should have at least some online presence. I began to understand the several advantages of an online publication, e.g., the possibility of a wider audience than a print journal has, the possibility of the work reaching readers in other countries, the long-term presence of the work in the online journal's archives.

As social media became more and more in use among authors, it became apparent that it could be used to multiply the online journal's reach as readers hit the Like button and the Share button for Facebook and/or added a link to Twitter. Still, many of us held onto our affection for the printed word, the pleasure of getting into a comfortable chair and spending a few hours reading poetry on the page.

Now we can have our cake and eat it too! A number of online journals have gathered the work first published online and put it into a print edition. Some of these print anthologies gather all of the work of several years; others do a best-of anthology.

The most recent of these anthologies arrived in my mailbox this week. Katherine Riegel, editor of Sweet: A Literary Confection, has just edited the journal's first anthology: All of Us: Sweet: The First Five Years.

Click for Amazon
Here's the back cover's list of contributors.


Some other online journals have also published print anthologies:

Pirene's FountainFirst Water: Best of Pirene's Fountain The best of the first five years, edited by Ami Kaye.

Valparaiso Poetry ReviewPoetry from Paradise Valley. Selected work from the first ten years, edited by Edward Byrne. (currently unavailable)

Thrush Poetry JournalThrush Poetry Journal: An Anthology of the First Two Years. Includes all the work, edited by Helen Vittoria.

The Barefoot MuseThe Best of The Barefoot Muse. The journal has ceased publication but the best work of its five years of publication is preserved in this print anthology, edited by Anna M. Evans.


I like this trend and hope it continues.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Billy Collins on Craft


Last weekend I attended the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. I not only attended, I also worked there. One of my assignments was to introduce Billy Collins at his craft talk on Saturday morning. This was held in the gymnasium of the North Star Academy, one of several charter schools in Newark. The room was packed.
Collins began his talk with some thoughts about what poetry is. He offered the following:
    “musical thought”—Thomas Carlisle
    “emotion set to rhythm”—Thomas hardy
    “meaning that moves”—Muriel Rukeyser

He then added that poetry is “all about the love of strangers.” And he asked, "How do you get strangers interested in your internal life”? He offered two ways:
    1. Lies
    2. Application of form—give formal pleasure to the reader

Collins added that the reader is not interested in your life; he’s interested in his own life.

To the earlier definitions, he added, “Poetry is a mixture of the clear and the mysterious.” It is a “home for ambiguity.” I love that last part.

When Collins began to talk about deal breakers, i.e., what makes him stop reading a poem, the talk had the ring of familiarity. I recalled that some of his thoughts had been included in an essay entitled “My Grandfather’s Tackle Box: The Limits of Memory-Driven Poetry,” published in Poetry, August 2001. Then I googled a bit and was reminded that he’d also discussed his deal breakers in his Introduction to the Best American Poetry 2006, an issue for which he’d served as Guest Editor. Excerpts from that essay, “75 Needles in the Haystack of Poetry,” appear here.

I’ll include one excerpt here:
“The word ‘cicada,’ for example, stops me in my tracks. Sorry, I simply cannot continue. Poems consisting largely of memories tend to leave me unfurled, particularly memories of family members—parents, grandparents, especially ones referred to as ‘Dad,’ ‘Mom,’ ‘Grandpa,’ and ‘Grannie.’ The same goes for poems that seem obsessed with some object associated with a dead person: Grandpa’s tool box, Mom’s ironing board, Dad’s fishing rod, and the like.  . . . Too many poems seemed content to convey an experience followed by a reaction to it without factoring in the reader’s presumed indifference to the inner lives of strangers.”

(This entire essay also appeared in AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, September 2006.)

The talk was followed by a Q&A. Someone asked about prose poetry. Collins described it as “an opportunity to write poetry and prose badly at the same time.” Funny, yes, but I’m sure that raised a few hackles in the room. It’s one thing to say you don’t care for it or you don’t choose to write it, but to dismiss it altogether struck me as too firmly opinionated. Collins elaborated by saying that he values the line, that each one adds something to the poem, “And once you give up the line, you can’t use the word poetry.”

Someone else asked about performance poetry and it quickly became clear that that’s not Billy’s cup of tea either. He feels that the delivery is too emotional and that the performer does what the poem should be doing.

Now I need to get out my current manuscript. I think I have a poem in it that mentions a cicada.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Leading Poetry Workshops


I very much enjoy giving workshops. One recent really heart-warming experience was doing a two-hour workshop for seniors as part of the Tour of Poetry series held in Northfield, NJ, at the Otto Bruyns Library. This wonderful program is run by poet Emari DiGiorgio who received a grant from Stockton College to fund it. I’d been told to expect 6-8 people. We ended up with 20! They were just a wonderful group to work with, so eager, so industrious, and so appreciative. The day was well worth the two-hour drive each way. We did a writing activity together and heard a handful of the drafts. Then I gave a short reading and left the group with a take-home prompt.

I generally find that seniors don’t buy books—not because they’re cheapskates, but because they may now be on reduced budgets or more often because they’re downsizing their living space. Nevertheless, I sold a goodly number of copies of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop. This group was hungry for poetry instruction and additional prompts, and they were anxious to continue working at home. Each month from now through the spring they will meet with a different poet.

Then last week I gave a reading and talk to a group of seniors in Upper Montclair, NJ. This was not a writing workshop and the participants were not poets, but they were a great audience. This program is run by Rose La Mantia who arranges a monthly presentation for her group which meets in a church rec room. What a wonderful gift to her community. Participants come early and have lunch together. Then there’s the presentation and desserts.

 I was originally scheduled to give this presentation two years ago during the week of Sandy, but we had to cancel. Because Rose schedules a year in advance, my visit had a long wait. But it was worth the wait. I love bringing poetry to audiences who perhaps haven’t been reading much of it but are open to it. My topic was “Poems and Where They Come From.” Before I read each poem, I talked about what had sparked the writing of the poem. My listeners were full of questions and comments. And much to my delight, many of them went home with a copy of one of my poetry books.

Kudos to Emari and Rose for their contributions to poetry and to their communities.

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