Thursday, August 11, 2011

no cigarettes at all, no champagne on your birthday

For Stacy

My dear girl,
I don’t know any prayers for the dead.
I can only burn the cedar wood
as the arbor vitae is engulfed in the last light,
then blow out the candles,
exhaling your name.

Osiris resisted you once before
as you were lying intubated
and mummified after your accident,
but now he sucks the lime
and bleeds green for you.
Sweet stalks of wheat
line your vessel for the other side.
Moss roses crown your curls.
The Mourning Cloak butterfly,
in clinging ink shadows,
falls from its fluttering sky
as I place loosestrife
and hyssop
and the last of the warm day
lilies by your pink bauble face,
kissing you good-bye.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Contests & Competition

I took the big (for me) step of submitting a few poems to a contest and a few more to an open call for submissions to a small press.  I haven't submitted anything for publication in 30 years or so when I had the temerity to send my works to Poetry and American Poetry Review.  My rejection notices commented that my style was clever, but scattered, or some such.

Yesterday I was jumping around like a bug on a hot rock, hastily editing and formatting poems to email by deadlines of August 1st.  I felt as though I were submitting tax forms.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that I had "done it right."  Today I wonder what all my anxiety was about.  I felt the fear of judgment, that my work wouldn't be "good enough."  I felt the fear of finality--is this the final edit, or could this poem use more polishing?  So, I'm left with questions about what I want, why am I doing what I do.  I don't have high hopes of "winning."  It was important for me to just take this step and see what happens. 

I was pushed into doing this by a friend who is always telling me to submit my work, that my imagistic style is what the market wants.  I don't know.  What is the market?  Is it a closed system of incestuous MFA logrolling?    I think online blogging has changed my market.  I enjoy reading and following blogs.  Small press and self-publishing seem to make sense.  If you have an online following, why not sell them your chapbook?  Why not find a like-minded soul who can illustrate it?  

Anyway, curious about other's thoughts on this.  Yesterday, I felt as though I were sending my children off into the netherworld without sweaters or galoshes, but today I am thinking, "What's the big deal?"  Either I get published by a small press or a magazine, or I don't.  Does that change what I want to do?
I still want to work on my craft.  Posting online and getting feedback and support and reading other blogs is the most helpful poetry workshop I've been in.  
I'll be pulling some poems from my blog that I've submitted.  Thank you all for reading and commenting.