Publication Party!

Yesterday, Sappho’s Circle, a newly formed local women’s poetry workshop, had our first publication party. What this means is that members gathered with laptops – and snacks – to work on submitting our poems to publications.

Our leader Heather has access to lots of great resources to help us choose among the hundreds of venues available. She also has lots of experience, having been published in many different journals over the years. She has even been nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

I decided to send a submission to Eunoia Review which publishes two pieces (poems, fiction, creative non-fiction) online daily. Bonus: I am now following them on WordPress, so I will get a daily digest from them.

This submission was a bit different from the type I usually do. It was high-volume – ten poems in one submission; the most I had ever submitted at once was five. You could submit both unpublished and previously published work.  You were not allowed, though, to submit anything that was under consideration elsewhere. Usually, that would be a non-starter for me, who appreciates the flexibility of simultaneous submissions, but the timing was right as I had very little that was still out for consideration. Eunoia Review also makes up for the stricture with an incredibly rapid turnaround time, usually under 24 hours!

So I spent the bulk of the session yesterday assembling ten poems to submit, starting with the six I had prepared in anticipation of the publication party and adding four others, three of which were previously published. I hit send just a few minutes before we wrapped up the party at 4:00.

By evening, I had an answer!  I’m pleased to announce that Eunoia Review will be publishing my poem “The Last Night” sometime in early January, 2016. There will no doubt be an excited post here at Top of JC’s Mind with the link when it becomes available!

Now, I have lots of thank yous to send out. First, to Ian of Eunoia Review for reading my submission and accepting “The Last Night.” To my poet friends at Binghamton Poetry Project, Sappho’s Circle, and Bunn Hill Poets, all of whom were a huge help in revisions of this poem, which has gone through more drafts than any other poem I have ever written. And a huge THANK YOU to Heather for her support and for helping me to find a good home for “The Last Night.”

I urge everyone to check out Eunoia Review and follow them. There’s so much great stuff there to read, with more added daily. I’m so honored that I will be part of it!

an encouraging rejection

When I was in Hawai’i, I spent a considerable amount of time searching for literary journals that might publish my work and choosing, formatting, and submitting poems to them.

Some of you may have seen my recent excited, squealing post over an acceptance that came from those submissions and my crazed rush to withdraw the three accepted poems from other journals to which they had been submitted.

I am nearly always submitting to journals that allow simultaneous submissions to avoid having to wait months to find out an editor has rejected a poem before being free to send it elsewhere, but the protocol is to promptly withdraw a poem from other journals if it is accepted.

Most of the time, I submit to journals that don’t charge reading fees, but I did submit a set of four poems to a journal that does charge a reading fee and offers personal, expedited feedback for a slightly higher fee, which I decided to do, as I haven’t had much experience in hearing criticism from an editor’s point of view. On the bright side, this journal also pays cash for poems they accept, which is somewhat unusual. It’s more common not to be paid or to be given a copy or copies of the journal, if it is print rather than electronic.

I sent en email over the weekend withdrawing the accepted poems and today (Tuesday) got feedback from that journal’s editor, who obviously had not seen my withdrawal notice. Under the circumstances, I’m grateful that she didn’t accept any of the poems! She did give very specific and helpful criticism and was very encouraging about my submitting to their journal in the future.

Her criticism of the poem in which she was most interested  – and which she invited me to revise and re-submit directly to her for consideration, which I can’t do because it is one of the ones that will be published by Wilderness House Literary Review this fall – was actually addressed in an earlier draft. I need to talk to some of my poet friends and see if it would be too forward of me to send the earlier draft to her to see if it addresses her criticism adequately. It’s dicey because I can’t offer it to her for consideration anymore.

Another way in which this journal is different is that they read blind, meaning that the poems are submitted without any reference to the author. For a new poet like me, it saves me from an editor seeing my file and saying “Who the heck is this?” So to receive encouragement to send more of my work was very validating, knowing that the editor didn’t know whether or not I was someone who published regularly or had a writing degree. She didn’t think I was a rank amateur.

When you get a typical “thank you but your work does not fit our needs at the present time,” you wonder if maybe the editor is rolling his eyes and thinking you are totally out of your depth.

But, at least today, an encouraging rejection is a confidence booster.