Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. — Carl Sandburg
The hardest part of writing, at least for me, is letting go of my precious creation. I’ve checked for all ten fingers and toes, it isn’t hungry or wet, and it’s time to let it go. That requires one particular quality: trust.
Trust means giving our work over to some ephemeral system. It is nearly impossible to trust a system that is at best, random. Yes, am MFA helps you get published, or at least read. Being a professor is a plus. Or a published author. Still, those pluses are never a guarantee of publication.
As we approach the new year, we have an opportunity to wipe the proverbial slate clean, to begin again. I encourage each of you to put aside your overly-critical mind, and simply trust. Return to that first thrill of writing a poem, remember how tender you felt, how vulnerable. You were not worried about line lengths or slush piles. You were not feeling rejected or ignored. You knew the word gods had given you a gift, a way to express yourself that you’d never imagined. A voice, if you will.
Submitting our work is often frustrating, even maddening. But if publishing poetry has taught me anything, it is that you need just one editor, one person who believes in you. That person can change the course of your life. But first you have to trust your work enough to let it go, and then trust that somewhere there is another person who will understand and embrace what you've said, what only you could have said.
This new year as your read through Poet’s Market and make lists of poems and publishers, I encourage you to trust your judgment. Trust the universe to reward your hard work. And trust that those poems you’ve written in the too early hours of the morning, or after your family has gone to sleep, are worth reading. Worth sharing. After 18 years of reading your work, I assure you they are.
Recent Infinities Chapbooks
Laura LeHew Buyer's Remorse
Diana Woodcock Near the Arctic Circle
Quinton Hallett Stranger by the Hour
Send $5 per chapbook (postage included)
Send check to:
Tiger's Eye Press
c/o Colette Jonopulos, Editor
63 South Grove Street