17 April 2021

My poem "Domesticity" finds a home at Plainsongs Poetry Magazine.

This past work week is ending on a bit of a grumpy note--I had a migraine for most of Thursday, and it's back today. My knee is still healing, so the house is a wreck, and every weed in the yard is growing on an accelerated schedule due to this warm, dry spell we've had. I have a half-dozen proposals to grade this weekend, but otherwise I'm grateful to be caught up. I plan to rest my eyes for a while this afternoon.

Yesterday, I received an acceptance from Plainsongs Poetry Magazine out of Hastings, Nebraska . . . they are going to publish my poem "Domesticity" in their summer issue. This is a recent overhaul of a poem I wrote while working on my MFA at Chatham University in 2005. 

At the time, I was living in Carnegie, PA, and my husband was working as a restaurant chef in Squirrel Hill. We were making it work while he commuted and spent long hours in a new restaurant kitchen, and I commuted 45 minutes in one direction to teach full time, then returned home to commute across downtown Pittsburgh to graduate school classes. (Did I mention that I teach writing? All spare time was grading--always grading--student essays.) We were both busy and exhausted, and I wrote a lot of poems about what being a wife meant, and what being in a marriage meant. Obviously, two divorces later, I am not a professional when it comes to either. 

Looking back at work that's 15 years old is shocking to the system in some ways, but I've also found that my age and experiences since that time inform my older work in new ways. In one view, "Domesticity" is a brand new poem, because the point of view has shifted and softened. The tone has evolved. I don't think my poetry is as angry in some ways as it once was. 

Ultimately, I am glad this piece resonated with the editors and found its home. It validates that the revision set the poem on the right track, after all these years.

I've also sent out work to Slipstream this morning--they have a call out for a themed issue on SEX/FOOD/DEATH. I found a few sex poems and a few death poems to pull together a submission, as I'm trying to consider themed issues more frequently. I also sent a selection of five poems to Colorado Review this morning. I am also trying "bigger name" presses mixed in with the micro-presses. It is likely a shot in the dark, but I think the submission is quite good, if I do say so myself. : )

Plainsongs Poetry Magazine

15 April 2021

A rejection, but with a healthy dose of encouragement.

I was just speaking with my mom last week about migraines, and how I don't get them as frequently. I woke up this morning to a nasty migraine that is stubbornly hanging on, despite a few different medication attempts. I have about 45 minutes left in my Zoom office hours for the morning, and then I think I'm going to take some sick time for the rest of the day.

I know it's been about two weeks since I've last posted, but getting my manuscript out to those first book prizes was exhausting, and I've not been generating new work in the last month. I have work out--both manuscripts and small sets of poems--at 60 presses right now, so I'm just taking some time to rest. 

I have received a few rejection letters in the last two weeks, which is usually not something to crow about, but I received a really encouraging rejection email from Pokrbelly Press's Sugared Water. They had five poems of mine for almost six months, and they ended their otherwise standard form rejection with this:

While this particular work was not right for us, we were intrigued by what you're crafting, and would like to see more. Please consider submitting to us in the future.

To be honest, my newer work is a lot weirder than my poetry usually is. It is full-on crone poetry: full of dark fairy tale imagery and ghosts and gardening and being swept out to sea. Porkbelly Press is small--but I think of it as edgy and cool. It's the kind of place I don't often submit, because I tend to think I'm not pushing the boundaries of edgy OR cool. 

Despite their editors' decision to pass on the work I sent, I am immensely encouraged, and I will submit to them again in the future. I think the five poems they read were a bit of a mixed bag, and I look forward to curating another, stronger submission for them in the near future.

On the book front, my chapbook manuscript is still under consideration after being submitted during American Poetry Journal's fall reading period, and my full-length manuscript is still being held with submissions to BOA Edition's A. Poulin, Jr. Award. Those are the last two fall book submissions, and from what I can tell via Duotrope, those two contests haven't sent any rejection slips yet. I believe BOA announces in May. 

I will be waiting for results of the spring first book awards for quite a while, but my submissions at Ghost Peach Press/Birdcoat Quarterly, Trio House Press, and Elixir Press have all moved to "In-Progress" at Submittable. The deadlines for Ghost Peach and Trio House are April 30/May 1, so they're already reading the submissions they've received--Elixir's deadline was March 31.