First up... I've managed to get a poem into the prestigious online poetry magazine, Ink, Sweat & Tears. It's called Before the Weighing, and it's inspired by Jane Hirshfield's poem, The Weighing, which is all about the idea of weighing your soul against a feather to see if you're fit to enter heaven. I totally had the scene in American Gods (here's the clip, watch out for fruity language at the end) where that happens in my head when I was writing it, even though that was missing the lioness, can't imagine why. Anyway, the poem is there TODAY, so grab it while it's hot, HERE.
Another place I've been trying and trying to get a poem into is the fabulous Picaroon Poetry and on what was going to be my last attempt I got in! Not only did I get in but it's with a poem which I wrote at a mini poetry retreat with my late friend Rose, who gave me so much inspiration to believe in my writing. I really liked this poem back when I wrote it, but it's taken a while to find a home. You'll get to read it when it comes out in May, but in the meantime check out the back issues of Picaroon Poetry, available on their website.
I've also recently had a poem accepted for Peeking Cat magazine (September edition), which is a super cute magazine available in hard copy to buy, or for free online. It's got cats on it (rather like the kitchen table I'm working on), and some smashing poetry in it too. Check out their website because I note that submissions are now open for their 2018 anthology.
I've been working in my local library since October, it's great fun and only part time but it's had a massive impact on the time I'm spending doing writing stuff - who knew I was getting so much done!? So I've been submitting less poems lately, but I'm still going, and I thought I'd share a few tips with you for getting your poems published:
- Get to know the place you're thinking of sending your poems - it'll help you find great poetry and work out what of your own work you might want to send them.
- Follow their submission guidelines. Pay attention to themes they're looking for and make sure your poem isn't too long or short for them. There is no point in sending what they don't want. Also there's no point in sending your work outside of the deadlines. It won't get read.
- If at first you don't succeed try again, but sometimes your work won't fit. That doesn't mean it's bad (although it might be - worth checking), you might just need to go somewhere else. There are so many places to go.
- Submit as many poems as they want. If they say 1-4, try to send 4. It gives you more chances. Also I find that it's usually the last poem of a batch of poems I send that gets chosen. I reckon that's because you've eased them into your style with the first few so that the last one totally fits with what they're thinking of as poetry. That idea may be nonsense, but honestly, the last three batches of poems I've sent out, they chose the last one. What if I'd sent one less?
- Try to make friends and connections. I find this so hard, but talking to other poets will make your work better, by giving you new things to try, and will help you make the connections you need to get published in other places. Join a good writing group, go to readings and talk to people, be a total fan girl/boy/person. Even if it doesn't go brilliantly, it's useful.