A story of submissions

Today, I submitted poems to one of my long-standing favorite magazines, Abbey. The little mag recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, quite a feat in the small press where magazines come and go like night and day. Editor David Greisman is one of the few editors whom I’ve met; in fact, we spent time together on a few occasions and I even stayed over at his home once.

This long weekend I also submitted to a few other magazines and worked with my magazine, Pig in a Poke. My wife and fiction editor Trina Allen and I are rounding up work for the second and third issues, and I’m pleased with the quality of the work we’ve accepted. Now that the Pig is active again, it’s interesting to see other people’s submissions too.

Getting back to David Greisman and Abbey: Because David and I have such a long history, my cover notes to him are usually more casual and friendly than those I write to other editors. But when I submit, I do try to get some of my personality into the cover letter. And I usually include my bio, unless the editor specifically prohibits it. I figure that any editor stuffy enough to get riled about these habits of mine probably puts out a stuffy magazine that I don’t belong in or want to be in anyway. I’m also naive enough to think that most editors won’t accept work because of a bio or friendly letter. Personally, if I recognize the name, I might give the writer’s poems more careful consideration, but I care too much for my magazine to accept mediocre work, regardless of the name.

So, submitting poems. “The poetry game.” I’ve been pretty lucky at it, as I realized when I sent my bio to David. My trade paperback, I knew Bukowski like you knew a rare leaf. The recently published The Black Dog and the Road and my chapbook, Something Real.

As if this wasn’t enough, I have another chapbook, Before daybreak, with a nod to Frost coming out from Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press, possibly released as soon as tomorrow. And Robin Stratton from Boston Literary Magazine‘s Big Table Publishing will be doing another chapbook in July or August. That one’s title is Retreating aggressively into the dark.

Speaking of Robin Stratton, let me end this post with a story. Recently, I submitted a group of poems to her at Boston Literary Magazine. As usual when I submit, I included a list of the poem titles that I sent. In this case, the list was:

Coming into summer
Why?
Walking something
The job and the day of escape
Rejecting Bukowski
Half human, half dog

The punch line? Robin wrote me a note and said that she thought the list of titles was a poem, before she realized what it was. But the ultimate punch line is: She accepted the list of titles and will be publishing it in her magazine!

You know you’re on a roll when someone accepts a list of titles …

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~ by harryc13 on May 31, 2010.

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