Becoming the Living Poet

Appeasing the Nagging Submit Me Voice

Posted on: July 9, 2009

In my post, Submission (Not the Kinky Kind) I professed an interest in rejection letter art projects.

Ever since I made that commitment a nagging voice in the back of my head has been telling me not to wait until August to start submitting work. If I’m really serious about amassing a collection of rejection letters that any working writer would be proud of there’s no time like the present.

I thought a good step in the right direction would be figuring out where I wanted to submit work and making a commitment to do so.

Below I will list no more than 3 places I plan to submit work to in the next two months and then I will make it happen.

-On a friend’s recommendation I think I will submit work to Room Magazine. After reading the online samples of poetry the magazine has accepted, some of the work I have in the notebook I brought with me to Denmark could fit the tastes of the magazine, so I could feasibly type of work and send it out tomorrow. I still need to finish my Paris and Barcelona postcards. Perhaps I’ll finish all that this weekend and send it out in one big bundle. I would like to have a submission sent out by the end of next week so I will make that a formal goal.

-I also plan to submit to the Bitter Oleander Press because I like their style and hope they’ll like mine.

-There’s a contest being held by 13th Moon Press that I want to submit to for feminist women poets. A submission is 3 poems no more than 500 lines total. There’s an entry fee, but I have a good feeling about the contest so I’m going to bite the bullet. The deadline is September 8th. Some of the work I want to submit is boxed up in Norcal, but I should be able to just make the deadline when I move to SF.

I’m feeling pretty good about my choices. In the next week we’ll see if I can do the hard part, which is of course, the follow through.

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Off topic, caught up on the Practicing Writing posts I was behind on today. Here are a couple of links Erika Dreifus found that I particularly enjoyed:

-Realistic and only slightly disheartening article about one teacher’s rewarding and excruciating experiences teaching high schoolers poetry: D’Oh On A Grecian Urn

Tips on how to obtain a review copy of a book

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And very far in this blog’s past I mentioned wanting to revisit some of the poems I liked in high school to try and figure out what makes a poem Valuable in the sense that it touches someone’s life.

I put the project on hold because I couldn’t figure out how to do it in a few posts. When I started walking down the dusty memory lane of my poetic preference past I was bombarded by poem after poem of early influences. I think deconstructing my influences might have to be a gradual, piecemeal process until I find some way to make sense of the data.

So here’s a poem whose last line haunts me to this day:

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond by e.e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

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Reading this poem makes me recognize that it often isn’t literal meaning that draws me to a particular poem. The last line is the part of the poem that has echoed in my brain for years, popping into my head at strange moments. But what does the rain having small hands literally mean to me? The image is one of tenderness, fragility, and longing. It evokes an intense feeling without an object. I think that may have been what originally drew me to e.e. cummings as a poet – his ability to mean intensely without saying anything sensical, his ability to emote a message that was wordless and yet unmistakable.

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3 Responses to "Appeasing the Nagging Submit Me Voice"

[…] week, immediately after identifying some literary magazines I’d like to submit to I threw myself headlong into another project which I didn’t write about here because I was, […]

i love this idea of talking about the poem from what it means on an emotional level to you. i was also drawn to ee cummings in high school and i think, for me, it was how playful yet serious his choice of words were.

bitter oleander is a great mag. i got ink from them once but still haven’t gotten in 🙂

good luck!

Describing how a poem makes you feel is surprisingly difficult, but worth the effort I think. That’s a good point about e.e. cummings. Most of his words have only one syllable, two at the most, and yet there’s this unaccountable intensity to his work.

Thanks for the luck. Right back out you! Hope you keep sending work out.

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