Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekly Update: The Prairie & The Fever

80º ~ sweet relief on the back side of a storm, wicked & wild, on Friday night ~ 4 limbs down in the backyard, nothing damaged

The prediction held true for the past week.  No time for poetry Monday - Friday, or at least no time for poetry outside the classroom.  I confess that I assign Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" every semester just so I can read/perform it.  Reason #492 that I love my job.

Still, I've found time for peace and poetry this weekend. 

Saturday was devoted to The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths, that new title for the weather manuscript, which now includes the prairie fairy tales.  I spent the morning reading the entire book once again, probing for weaknesses and tweaking where needed, and then preparing submissions for three publishers.  It's wonderful to be able to have renewed energy for this group of poems, but I'm slimming down the number of places I'll submit.  In part this is a time concern; in part this is a financial concern.  I can see that I'll be ready to submit the fever book in the spring, and, sadly, most poetry manuscript submissions require a reading fee.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, as long as a press is on the up and up and uses my fee to publish books I enjoy, I'll submit to them.  However, I will not go into debt to do so.  If that means it takes longer for my manuscript to find the right home, so be it.  Even with a full-time job, the money only goes so far.

Today (Sunday) has been given over to the sickly speaker and her fever poems.  I'm glad I'm not rushing to send the manuscript out, given the fact that as I've been working hard at getting more of the individual poems out there, I continue to find mushy spots in the poems that need to be addressed.

This morning, I sent one group of poems out to a non-simultaneous submission journal.  As I stated last week, this is a bit of a new focus for me.  I have a poet-friend who once said "well, I never simultaneously submit," and I remember being stunned by this and confused.  If one doesn't SS, then one must wait and wait and wait for the response from each individual journal before moving on.  Now, I'm beginning to see that this can be a good thing when the calendar is filled to the brim with other responsibilities.  It is much less daunting to sit down and prepare one group of poems for one journal than it is to have to sort through five - ten journals and re-read all of their guidelines.

That being said, I also tackled a packet for a SS-accepting journal this morning.  This journal just sent me a rejection on Sept. 1; however, the poetry editor included a wonderful note about the poems.  Because he did so, I replied with a "thank you for taking the time" email and we had a brief exchange.  I asked about submitting again, and he encouraged me to do so.  Not wanting to let the folks on the staff at the journal forget me, I had their folder on the top of my pile this weekend.

The pile: In the past, I would make a stack of my poem folders (those able to be submitted) and a stack of my journal folders (those accepting submissions).  Then, I would create groups of poems and journals and spend roughly two days sending things out into the world.  If I didn't finish and the pile remained on my desk, it would bother me and bother me until I finished.  Now, the pile seems to be ever-present, growing and shrinking as I have time to do the work.

This crazy life continues to remind me that we are all works-in-progress.  So be it.


Kathleen said...

It is a crazy life, isn't it? I, too, have been working on book manuscripts in a steady, refining way, and preparing submissions--juggling the ss and the non-ss. I used to be pretty non-ss, but I appreciate the ss opportunity, esp. with places that decide pretty quickly. Sigh....

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the note, Kathleen!