Friday, January 30, 2009

Calendar and Domestic Poetry

I have a pretty big deadline coming in up in less than two months, and to honor it, I've begun a new poetry project! Finally. It helps me a little bit to think of the shape and content and big ideas in the project when I'm thinking about new poems to write.

In this one I want to pursue a couple of ideas 1. Time and 2. The Domestic.

That's pretty much my life right now, and whereas for the past few months I haven't been thrilled about it, I've finally come around that bend in the country road where everything illuminates and you realize you're in the right place.

So my next blogs will focus on ways/forms to help shape and show the passage of time, and forms that duplicate the domestic.

Project the First: Rag Rug.

I'm totally in love with the rag rug I've been making for my second spare room.The rag rug is an old-timey thing they still make a L.L. Bean, we had one in our family room growing up. It's made out of long strips of fabric crocheted together around and around. The one I've been making is pink, green, yellow and raspberry, totally cute. For more info, if you want to try one:

So for my rag rug poem, I was thinking about taking lines out of a journal or something, or maybe a paragraph and cutting it into lines, and then wrapping them and tying them together, around and around, until they form the whole. I'm debating too getting the "fabric" from non-literary sources, like taking snippets from books that I find and interesting "color" and using them to make the rag rug, like my Grim Fairie Tale collection, Lives of the Saints, and The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting to Know You: Back Issues

In most writing classrooms as well as on most rejection slips, you'll get a suggestion from teachers and editors that you read a literary journal before submitting to it (or read any literary journal before submitting to another one) in order to get an idea of what they might like.

There are a few problems with this advice. 1)Time: Many working poets find they don't have the time to read EVERY journal they'd like to submit to. OR 2)Money: They might skim over them at the AWP bookfair, look into their wallets, and sigh. There just isn't enough money, or usually a well-enough stocked library nearby for poets (or writers) to read every journal they'd like to. $20 bucks a pop doesn't get you very far on what most people have to spend. I know my subscription/ conference registration/ contest entry fee money comes out of a small grant I was lucky to get and have just about used up :(

Which is why I've spent a little bit of time lately going over journals I've read in the past or recently submitted to, looking to see who has affordable back issues/ sample issues. Some back issues are rare and thus legitimately expensive. But if most journals are anything like Hayden's Ferry Review, there's a room somewhere full of back issues that the magazine can't afford to store anymore, would give away free if they could. Maybe the editor ordered about 200 more than needed from the printer, the cover art wasn't so great, the issue came out during the Arab Oil Embargo of '74 and people just weren't buying journals like predicted. Thus the sample issue, as in "I've got 200 copies of issue #20, pay for the shipping and it's yours." And some magazines just don't charge that much, period.

Here's a list of links to back issues pages of literary journals that sell for less than $10 a piece. Although some of these might still be more than half of a current subscription (and some aren't), it's enough to get a taste of what the magazine's about and then decide which ones you want to add to your Christmas list.

Hayden's Ferry Review $7.50

American Poetry Review $4.25

Copper Nickel (issue 5) $8

Crab Creek Review $6

Cream City Review $7

Gulf Coast $8
I suggest issue 20.2 featuring my dear friend and Pushcart nominated writer, Aimee Baker.

Mid-American Review $5

New England Review $6

New York Quarterly $8

Slipstream (some issues $7)

Cimarron Review (some issues $5)

Fugue $8

The Gettysburg Review $6

There might be more! Check out your favorite lit mag, and if it's got a good sample issue rate, let me know.