Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What's "Success"?

I'm trying to decide just what constitutes successful. Whatever it is, I've yet to feel it. I've promised myself that this year will be the year that I start submitting to the "better" magazines and journals, altho to be honest, I don't know what or who the "better" journals are.
Dan and I were talking last night, and I said I would feel better about myself if I could say I was published in Poetry or in The New Yorker or The Atlantic....and yet, if I'm totally honest with myself (and everyone else) I really don't even LIKE the poems they publish. They're usually way over my head or way under it, depending on how egotistical or how stupid I am feeling on any given day. I like the magazines and e-zines that have accepted my work, they're not pretentious and they're full of hard work and honest emotion. My own personal rule it to not submit a poem to any editor or magazine that I don't respect and enjoy. It's worked well for me so far. I don't feel like a whore and I'm sincerely flattered when someone I respect chooses to publish my work. If I break down and submit to Poetry or The New Yorker or The Atlantic, I'll be breaking my own rule simply to say "Look who published me." It would be validation, I suppose, but of what?

I'm pretty happy where I'm at, I think. I've got some things "out there" and I was thrilled when Verse Daily picked up one of my rare loosely-metered-but-still-free-verse poems. I write poems infrequently and I'll probably never assemble enough of them to make any kind of respectable chapbook. I'm seldom satisfied with anything I write and I tend to rewrite them incessantly until either they fall apart or I do.

There are people who post a poem weekly on the workshop where I post occasionally...and I envy them. I'd like to have the kind of discipline that says "you will write one poem a week" and stick to it. As it is, I'm lucky if I write a poem once ever few months.....and if I actually LIKE whatever it is I've written, I'm pretty content for the whole damn year.

Last year was a good one.

Maybe this year will work out ok, too.


David said...

Lo...success for me is your poem "These Dead" - it knocked me to the floor. I'm swooning.

David said...

BTW...I just realized we appeared together in the same issue of Pebble Lake Review.

Lo said...

Thank you, David. The form just seemed to lend itself so well to the subject matter. Glad you enjoyed it.
I'm gonna go check out the Pebble Lake connection now.
Thanks for stoppin' by.

Woman-Stirred-Admin said...

Lo, there seems to be a vast divide between the "better" magazines and everyone else. I also imagine I want to make the leap, but then I wonder, into what? On the other hand, I have to try and make a buck with my stuff. One thing I've learned about productivity - being healthy and fit, you know like doing routine aerobic exercise - keeps me inspired. Did you know Joyce Carol Oates is a runner?
Nice blog!

Lo said...

My inspiation comes more from chocolate-chip cookies, unfortunately.
Please tell me that Joyce also eats them. < grin >
You are right about the "vast divide" however, and I wonder why that is so? I was heartened this year to find out that a certain number of e-zines can now nominate poets for The Pushcart. (At least that's the way I read it, although it was written in strange language and perhaps I only THINK that's what it said}
Anyhow, perhaps that's Hope I see on the horizon.

Lo said...


Woman-Stirred-Admin said...

Lo check it out -

the vast divide is at least partly caused by rich/poor and academic/non-academic