friday roundup (oops – on saturday): knife, simple gifts, and the number zero

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Reader, when I think of the list of “I wills” I wrote last week about all the ways I’d preserve a little corner of each day for writing, I have to laugh. Maniacally. I could’ve kept that post short and sweet by saying, “I will fly by the seat of my pants, catch as catch can, and hope for the best.” At least, that’s how the first week of summer vacation has gone. So, I didn’t get to the roundup yesterday, but here it is, better late than never:

knife  I very rarely write prose poems, mostly because I can’t often articulate for myself why a certain piece needs to be in prose form. The three poems I have in prose form are all about illness / the body — subjects that seem too raw for the craft of lineated poetry. The poet Fleda Brown wrote about this idea on her blog last week, and included her long prose poem, “Knife,” in the post. I first read “Knife” in Fleda’s collection Reunion, which I highly recommend. In the meantime, go read her blog for some amazing poetry and thoughts about the prose form.

simple gifts  Two gifts from the blogosphere this week — one on revision and one on submissions:

First, Sandra Beasley gives us this strategy for revision: “I take a reasonably polished draft and remove all the line breaks so it becomes a prose paragraph. Next I edit it in that form for syntax and flow, which ensures I don’t have excess language in there simply for visual rhythm (e.g., writing toward a median line length). Only then do a I re-break the poem again, rethinking all line and stanza options. If it ends up as before, lovely. But often it does not. And sometimes I have to come to terms with what’s missing, and dive back in to revise on a content level.” I’ve put poems in a block of prose to help me think about linebreaks, but never thought to actually revise in that form, then re-lineate. Happy to have a new tool in my revision toolkit!

Second, we have manna from heaven. For the last couple weeks I’ve been thinking about making (and posting) a list of all the journals that are open for submissions during summer. I moaned and groaned thinking about what a lot of work that would be. Then, a gift: Diane Lockward is already compiling this list! Here is the list of journals A through F; and here’s the list for journals G through P. The rest of the alphabet will follow at Diane’s blog, so stay tuned. Diane also has lists of poetry-only journals, and print journals that accept online submissions. Thank you, Diane, for these helpful tools!

the number zero  Reader, remember how this is going to be my summer of submissions (S.O.S.)? Yes, well, this week has been brought to you by the number zero. Although I did begin my process of “getting organized” for my summer subs, I didn’t actually submit anything this week. The siren song of new work proved too strong, and I also did some good revision on recent drafts. Still, I need to remind, refocus, and reprioritize (is that a word?). Going to set myself a goal of five subs for next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hope your summer is off to a good start! Happy weekend, and thanks for reading.

8 thoughts on “friday roundup (oops – on saturday): knife, simple gifts, and the number zero

  1. I have decided to do last the exact opposite: concentrate more on writing and less on submitting! I will take your suggestion of reading Fleda’s blog since I have been writing in prose blocks lately. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. I love Fleda’s blog. Such wonderful concrete advice there. And thanks for your candor about your own process. I feel your frustration about not getting more submitted (or written for that matter).

    • I feel a kinship with Fleda Brown (although I don’t know her), as she grew up summering near where I call home in Michigan, and now lives there. She gave a reading at my parents’ house once… alas, I was not there. I’ve also enjoyed her blog. Thanks for reading, Erin.

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