On Writing, Editing, and Trying to be Published

Some time ago, before I started this blog, I was trying to get my poetry published. I wanted to get my ideas and words out in the world, and the best way to do that seemed to be to get published. So I would write a poem (and everything I wrote, I was trying to write something of publishable quality) and then I would edit it (not really knowing what I was looking for) and then I would send it off. I don’t think they were bad poems, but they weren’t great, either. Of course nothing was published (although I still think some were better than some published poems I read).

Every time a poem came back, rejected, I would sit down and struggle with it, trying to make it better, still not really knowing what I was looking for. I was doing a lot of editing of the same poems, over and over, until I felt like I was going in circles.

Eventually, I got sick of the whole cycle. I bought myself a couple decent books on poetry, read them, and realized form and meter were more important than I had suspected, particularly meter. I quit trying to be published, because I was afraid to put my poetry online, for fear journals that only take unpublished material wouldn’t want it. I started this blog, and while it’s not huge, I feel like I’m being heard. I found a couple writing prompt sites (Write With Pictures and Daily Writing Practice) and I write there a lot. It’s practice, so I’ve quit listening for publishableness.

Most importantly, I’ve learned about a few forms and meters I like and I try to fit my words to them. I have a sense, now, of the form or meter that will best convey the rhythm and intensity of my words, and the kind of poem I want. I still don’t know how good a poet I am, or if I’ll be published, but when

The unacknowledged secrets, the secrets
I carry in my heart, and are not spoken
I whisper them sometimes, inside my head,
Soft within me, and smile.

becomes

The unacknowledged secrets carried
Near my heart, unspoken.
Soft within me, I whisper them, smiling.

there is a moment of grace.

I don’t think it will ever be published, but I know I improved it, and it sings.

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16 Comments

  1. these seem easily publishable to me.
    but then i’m not a publicist

    Reply
  2. Knikarmscherm

     /  February 7, 2010

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    Reply
  3. Descarga

     /  February 7, 2010

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    Reply
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