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Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson

September is Almost Here: Send! Send! Send!

For me, autumn has always been the best time to send my poetry out for consideration.  Many publications are on hiatus for the summer.  Once September rolls around journals, online zines and contests open up once again.  Everybody is reading.   

Ever since I started writing poetry seriously in college in the 70’s, I’ve had my best luck placing my work in this final third of the year.  Partly it’s a personal thing.  I love the peace, beauty and fulfillment of harvest time.  My Muse tends to sing in bronze and coppers.  I am more organized in October than in April or July.  Maybe it’s a habit engrained since my childhood since everyone in the family either taught or attended school and we were back at it with the Autumnal Equinox. 

These late August days I find myself excited about poetry again.  I have been leafing through older poems seeing which sound ok beyond the passion of first drafts.  I have been jotting new ideas in my notebook.  And I have begun to peruse Poets & Writers, Duotrope and New Pages for ideas about where to offer my words.

I don’t use the term ‘submit’ which has the negative connotation of bowing down, yielding or worse yet groveling.   I NEVER submit the products of the sweat of my heart.  I offer then with good will to see if they might fit with other words, other work, to enhance the whole.  I send them out into the universe like maturing children to find their place, have their say.

It is so much easier to try to publish now than it used to be!  Journals are online or have websites so writers can get a direct feel of what the journal wants.  I used to have to subscribe, send for a sample copy or visit a university library where shelves of journals were physically available to peruse.  Now I just ask Google and poems appear.  And I can upload my poems directly into cyberspace!!!  No more trips to the post office to buy stamps!  No more self-addressed-stamped-envelopes!  No more strange superstitious rituals before I place the key in my post office box to see what might have come back!  (Now I just perform strange superstitious ritual when I open my email!)   And Submittable even keeps track of the rejections!!!  And acceptances!!!

Now poets are free to send out ‘simultaneously’ – to more than one journal at a time.  Such a practice used to be taboo.  The quandary now is whether to send to a lesser journal which is more likely to accept my work – or to wait it out while the prestigious lit mag takes 6 months before saying “not this time.”   But it’s a good choice, full of hope and creative exploration.

Yes, I am addicted to all aspects of the practice of poetry.  If a poem is locked inside my computer or in a drawer not being read – or savored – it is no good to anyone.  Out! Out!  This is the motto for September through December 2016.  Set those poems free to sing and inspire!

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