Thursday, February 05, 2009

Submitting Poetry

How many journals have you submitted to in the past six months? A rough estimate is fine. Do you submit simultaneously? I've been terribly lax lately in submitting my own work. I don't submit simultaneously, btw, unless the journal says that's okay. My own feeling is that, while I wish that was kosher in the same way that novels are submitted simultaneously to agents (or we'd be 80 trying to get THOSE seen), since turn around time tends to be reasonably fast it's easy enough to submit poems that are all different to several journals.

How important is publishing your work in journals? Do you prefer chapbooks?

I need a good boot to get me going again. I did submit to two journals this morning, but it's been a while. Part of the problem is the sheer volume of work involved in comparing my available poems to my list of submitted and rejected to make sure they're still free (no, at this point I don't remember) and then trying to match a group of poems with the tone the journal tends to take.


Annie Wicking said...

Good luck with your writing, Pris.

Best wishes,


mister jim said...

2 jls. in the past 4 months.
I know, I know...must do more.
Some things bubble I can't
find comparables for anywhere.
I need to do a blitz of the
best+most-different just to seek
eyes willing to take chances.

It's not spoiling though.
Just agitating, since I hardly
do any "omigad it's published"
blogging, forums, or chaps anymore.

Revision sweeps are amazing,
if really exhausting.
Maybe a small chap of super shorts

mister jim said...

I think you've been awesome
submitting and placing overall.

Pris said...

Thanks, Annie

Jim , thank you, too. And btw, I'll email you, too, but The Pink Elephant, whose editor is on Outside Writers put out this call recently. May be a place for you to submit.

Le Pink-Elephant Press is seeking submissions for poems shorter than eight lines for the Pin~ata: stuffed- pink elephant poems project. Please submit up to five miniature poems to by February 21st. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Suzanne at

Collin Kelley said...

I've submitted to five or six places, and four of those were requests for work by the editors. I actually have a few poems I need to send out, I just need to get motivated.

I like seeing my work in journals and to see the variety of other work included.

mister jim said...

Cool..solicited is great.
Back in another work life, I had
more spare juice. Work is getting
cool at this entrepreneur place now, so I have to be patient and focus on
maturing things (I feel). I've
mostly dropped art, except for
photo technique, but when po wants
its way with you....well,

Claire @ One Night Stanzas said...

Hey Pris --

The number of submissions I make varies. I tend to go through a period of crazy submitting and then do nothing for a while. Right now I am starting to get approached by people asking me to submit things, which in incredible and very nice!

I used to prefer journals and zines but there is such snobbery there. If you've been in X and Y but not in Z you're obviously no good, etc... very annoying. I also find that the higher up the journal foodchain you go, the more unnecessarily unfriendly editors become. I'm just discovering the chapbook concept and I think I like it a lot.

Oh, and PLEASE never simultaneously submit unless the editor says it's OK, people! I am an ed myself and HATE getting submissions that were obviously sent as a bulk email to a bunch of magazines! Mind you, it's not as bad as people who publish a piece and then carry on circulating it to publications like it's still on the market. It only impacts on them really but it's very annoying.

Nice post!

x Claire

DeadMule said...

Pris, I'm not sure how many submissions I'd done in the past six months. I do keep a list of where poems are submitted but delete them when I get responses, either adding the poems to my "published list" or deleting rejections. Who needs a list of publishers who don't want their poems? LOL

I try not to submit simultaneously. I think it can create problems and enough seem to find me without planning for them.

Right now I only have two poems submitted but I have a book and a chapbook ready and have spend some time on them. I do like to have poems in new journals.

Pris said...

Hi Collin
I get invitations to submit, too. I like that since I know the journal likes the type of writing I do.

claire..I do as you do, in spurts.

Helen, I keep the rejected list so I don't resubmit a poem to the same journal later if they're already rejected it. I need, though, to add a column to check off in that rejected file when the poem is accepted, since eventually , of the ones I do feel are deserving, those find a home in a journal more suitable for them.

Thank you all for your feedback.

Lyle Daggett said...

I haven't sent any poems to magazines in the past six months, actually probably not for a couple of years at least. I haven't made a decision not to or anything like that, just have been occupied with writing and with other stuff.

I don't multiple submit, and I'm somewhat picky about where I submit to. Also, a lot of my poems run 2 or 3 pages, which is a little longer than the typical poems in a lot of magazines. This also somewhat limits where I might think to send poems to, though that's obviously a judgement call a lot of the time.

With probably two-thirds of the magazines where I've published, the editor was a friend or aquaintance, or a friend of a friend, or we'd at least corresponded in the mail, etc.

With the books I've published -- except for my first one, which I self-published in 1976 -- all of the publishers are people I knew, and in most cases were good friends, prior to their publishing me. And they all asked me to send them manuscripts, or we more or less mutually agreed that I would send them. Clearly this has cut down on the effort and research I've needed to do prior to submitting.

All of the books I've published are what would probably be called "chapbooks," the way the term is commonly used. I'm on a quiet unambitious campaign to avoid using the word, at least as anything distinct from a "full-length" collection. As far as I'm concerned, a book of poems is full-length when it has enough poems in it.

Pris said...

'As far as I'm concerned, a book of poems is full-length when it has enough poems in it.'

I like that, Lyle. So true. And submitting does take a lot of time. I publish quite a few poems by request now, too, and yes, it does cut down on that time. I didn't start writing poetry until late 1999 and started submitting in 2000. I don't think I could've paid someone to publish what I wrote then:) Gradually, I found two journals who liked my poetry after a year of trying and thinking it was never going to happen. The more I published (and the more my poems improved), the more people wanted to publish me.

Anna G Raman said...

I must have submitted at least a handful of poems and one story (which was accepted). I'd a couple of my poems published but not in literary journals, not yet. Last year was full of rejects and I've one reject this year already. I usually look at my emails and sent folder to track but even then I avoid sending simultaneously to more than 2-3. (yeah, it does make it hard to remember).

Good luck with your submissions!

Pris said...

Hi Anna
Since you don't submit a lot, but do submit, it would be a lot easier if you used a folder to keep a sheet of where and when you sent, then mark what the response was. If your email is at all like mine, it's so hard to find things, despite having a submissions folder in my email program.

Be sure that the journals say it's okay to submit simultaneously. Otherwise I personally wouldn't. I've had journals request a republication of a poem of mine and when that happens, if it happens with you, do it only with the stipulation that the 'previously published in...wherever' goes under the poem.

Keep at it. The process of beginning to publish takes time, but persevere.