Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Steps to the Perfect Submission:

First, Some Guidelines
  • All poems should be single spaced (unless otherwise spaced for the effect of your poem
  • It should be your absolutely best work
  • Each poem gets it’s own (and counts as) one page. If a poem is longer than one page in it’s format, it counts as however many pages it takes, and the next poem should be on a brand new page.
  • Take very good care of the portfolio if it’s a physical piece

Now, the steps:
Begin with focusing on what the portfolio is for. Although you can have a go-to portfolio, with what you believe is your best work, you should be constantly updating it, because as a writer, you will grow, and what is your best will continue to evolve over time. Also, each submission may require anywhere from 5-25 pages, so you may need to add or cut from an existing portfolio.
In the case you are starting from scratch, you can either pick your absolutely best work, or think of the portfolio as a series, with a theme. If you are having trouble narrowing down the poems, sometimes this approach will make it clearer.
Again, by focusing on what the portfolio is geared for, you can decide whether or not you can use your favorite 20 point font, or if you can have an amazing title. Almost every place will have qualifications, such as page count (as addressed earlier) and format. What isn’t addressed in the qualifications is completely up to the author, as to what will do the most work for your poems
After you’ve completed this, and come out with a piece of work you are very proud of, follow this even simpler process:
  1. 1. Read the poems aloud. In sequence. If there is a title, read that as well.
  2. 2. Edit the order to the best sound.
  3. 3. Edit the poems.
  4. 4. Have someone else read it, and complete steps 2-3.
  5. 5. Let it sit, and then read it silently. Try to get into the mindset of an un-invested outsider. If you are thoroughly impressed, it is ready to submit.
Now, the final step of the submission:
Assume you will hear a no. This is hard to wrap around, as a concept, especially when you are so certain it is a great work. Perhaps the judge was having a bad day, or you reminded him of someone who cut him off on the highway. Perhaps the font was offensive or the poems didn’t deal with the subject matter they wanted to focus on. Either way you cut it, assume they will say no.
And if they say yes, it will be such a happy surprise.

You might be wondering right now, ‘why put all this work in, just to expect to get rejected?’ With poetry, especially in this competitive market, 9 out of 10 will reject definitely. And the tenth, maybe. Sometimes, people don’t even look at the submission. Rejection is a helpful part of the process. And hurtful. But still, necessary.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I've been missing...

... I suppose I took the news harder than I could take. However, I intend to come back in full. Unfortunately, I missed the anniversary. Happy one year, blog!

Soon, my portfolio is due, so next week, I'll talk about portfolio presentation. Looking forward to it?

Monday, March 9, 2009


Doesn't the title say it all?

I was talking today about dream jobs, long story short, there may be a new blog in the works that would justify gratuitous amounts of television consumption.

I'm not in the stupid creative writing program, and it eats at me. However, I'm totally gonna take the letter's advice and compete my way to the top! Wait a minute, art shouldn't be a fucking competition.

I'll let you know when there is good news, blogosphere. Until then, no advice. Just sympathy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I had the most wonderful dream this morning/afternoon. And yes I was sleeping in. Often that accompanies a break and alone time.

But in this dream I saw my accomplishments, I saw a book of myself up until I passed. And this book was filled with published poetry, unsuccessful relationships, and crazy hairstyles. Certain people I'd expect were in it, and some who I'd expect were left out.

Overall, the idea that yes, I can be successful in poetry (perhaps not in love) is really incredibly self-rewarding. The idea alone is enough to make this day amazing, and prompt me to work really hard as I anticipate the oncoming news about the program.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

oh no.

Deadlines. We all have them.
Mine is today.

Only a dreadful sinking feeling can accompany this.
Perhaps inadequecy. What kind of program

only accepts 14 people? Elitist. I
want to be accepted. Please?

I had to write a "why I'm applying"
and I'll post it

If I get in. So cross
your fingers, if you are reading this

hold your breath, as I hold mine
for the next week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inspiration, Part Do.

I guess this is "inspired" by two instances dealing with other people.
Sometimes, writing is personal, but a lot of the time other people are huge inspirations. Consider this: Shakespeare wrote of relationships, and he wasn't schizophrenic. Nothing is written in a vacuum, and often the ripest subject is other people.
So you know that creepy person who keeps eyeing you in the corner? Why not talk to them? Where do you think Aqualung came from?
Inspiration is everywhere, in so many things outside of ourselves. So I guess, sometimes you need to get over yourself, and get out of yourself.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sleep Catatonia

So tonight, I wrote a memoir about my insomnia. It's odd that it wasn't actually about me, but an aspect of myself. I haven't update except for those awesome pictures.
I got into the creative writing class, which is ultimately exciting. I'm just that much closer to the degree of my dreams. I just really need to start believing me.
I'm also that much closer to having to make tough decisions between Grad School or a Job. They are all capitalized because they are Very Big Decisions. Not like what to buy at the grocery store, but LifeChanging. Like really good socks. Or not like socks at all, but more like sandals, because you can get callouses if you choose the wrong ones, and the right ones fit so well that it's like you're wearing "Nothing at all. Nothing at all. Nothing at all." Ah, Ned. How appropriately innappropriate to the situation.
Either way, I'm on my path. Sometimes I like to think about motivation. Technically, my poetry is a type of memoir, something to express my story. I don't really write any fictional poetry, it all comes from what I go through. And today it was expressed in my autobiography class that most write to create identity, or to promote an idea of yourself. Is that why I write, so that I can have a glimmer of identity in other people's eyes? Most definitely.
But Also:
  • I Love Writing. More than most other things.
  • I Love reading poetry. New and Old.
  • This is something I've been doing consistently, for a long time. And if you know me, those two phrases are Rarely used in a description of my activities.
  • I wrote poetry before I knew what it was, that is how well tuned my mind is with poetry.
  • I don't think I could stand anything else for an extended period of time.
  • Finally, I feel like I do have a message, an audience, and a reason to write. I do wonder about if reading something I write will create the release that I get from reading everything from Harlem Night Song to Marty McConnell.

On a side note, I'd like to tell you all about an experience I had before break, where I saw a poetry reading of the aforementioned Marty McConnell. It was amazing. I was so moved by her work, and how she pushed boundaries, and how she evoked emotion from the people in the audience, it was truly amazing to witness.

Anyways, before talking any further of who may or may not be my professional living icon, I guess I'd sum it all up with this:

  • A dream is a dream. It isn't about how it started, or why it continued. Sometimes we can rationalize things that are innate, assuming they must have a starting point. Poetry is a part of me, and I will always do it. I can't think of anything that is more a part of me than maybe water.

So, I'm going to slip this shoe on and take a walk. You enjoy the music.