This week I received three acceptance letters from publishers for my writing submissions. The first one was an essay I wrote about my experience as a new farmer dealing with pasture predation. I sent this one out to the world because this experience meant a lot to me as a person and I worked on it for months. Normally, tales like this one would end up here on the blog but this experience was so soul changing and devastating and even humiliating that I just could not bring myself to share it.
It was not poetry. At that point my record was two photography acceptances and one essay- zero on the poetry. Yet, poetry is what keeps me coming back to these endeavour, is my true literary love.
Then, one evening, late, my email beeped. An acceptance and commentary of a POEM. The email sender was not a name I recognised, scrolling through quick....there was the name of the journal!! I was so excited. This one, (I'm being a stinker and not telling until it is published and released) is a journal that I have long read and admired. For those of you who have read my drafts, the poem is Poppy's Daughters.
The next morning a second one came in. My poem about Daphne in our own Iowa woods, Daughter of the Osmanthus River, was accepted.
Those of you who have followed my struggles here know that my 15 year hiatus has left me doubting my own worth and skills, left me wondering and regretting. The thing is? Both poems and the essays are all new work- not the old work from the draft drawer of doom! New words, new lyrical twists, new stories. The work from long ago keeps coming back to me rejected. This sits with me like pregnancy heartburn, painful but productive. Realising this was really good for me too: again, I remind myself that I need the decade of silence to live life, to really birth my own new voice. The child that wrote poetry with only blue pens and gave up on performance when Slam took over the stage is not the poet I am now. I have even written a slam piece and planned a performance. Totally and completely out of my comfort zone.
Tally from 2014 thus far:
Portland Review: Photography
Flyway Journal: Photography
Yet to be announced: Essay fall of 2014
Yet to be announced: Poem August 2014
Yet to be announced: Poem March 2015
AND.....November 2014 I will be reading at the Art on the Prairie even in Perry, Iowa.
Not a bad tally, actually. Tonight I am regrouping and looking at the work that just came back to me to figure out what goes where now. I am struggling to match journal to poems, I have exhausted almost all of the journals I read on my own and that is what I know to go to.
This is where knowing and talking to other poets would really come in handy.
Where do you find poems that you love? What journals do you read?