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.