Friday, March 24, 2006

Journal Update

Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned. It's been three months since my last post.

During this time I've created a website, ditched it, created another website, called for submissions, and am now in the final selection process. If you haven't heard from me yet, you will soon.

The journal is poised for launch in June. I originally wanted to push this puppy out twice per year, but because I've received so many submissions that I would like to use (far more than I actually can use, as you can well imagine) that I may take it to four times a year.

Thanks to all who've submitted -- for your work, and for your patience. I've received many many poems that evoke 'place' in one form or another. Not all of them do, and that's the way I wanted it, because the focus of this journal is not 'place poems' per se, but the plain fact that where we are influences at least what, if not how, we write.

To give you a little more input, for those of you who might be wondering, I'm not looking for poems that do nothing more than describe a place: I want poems that make me think, hurt, laugh, cringe; I want poems that make me want. I want poems that pay attention to linebreaks and rhythm without seeming forced. I want the subject and the tone of each poem to not feel trite or overused or inflated beyond what feels natural for the subject, and if you must rhyme, I want it to be seamlessly integrated, preferably as offrhyme. I really, really, don't want poems that read like a Hallmark card. And absolutely no proselytizing.

Okay. Phew. I guess I want a lot. My own poetry may not meet all those requirements. And if you catch me on a good day, and I like what you're trying to do with a poem, I may let something slide. But if you haven't been writing poetry for all that long, my suggestion to you, before you send anything out, is read read read all the poetry you can get your hands on, and revise until your head hurts. Cut out anything that seems suspect, or that you think maybe you've heard before, because you probably have.

In lieu of a traditional bio, I have asked contributors to write a brief statement about how 'place' influences their writing. It's been really cool to read all of these -- some poets' statements have been better than the poems they submitted. The statements have ranged from one or two lines to several paragraphs. I've asked for these because I think the standard bio puts too much emphasis on past accomplishments, or lack thereof, which can devalue or inflate a poem's perceived worth.

This is not to say that I don't believe in shameless self-promotion. There is no shame in promoting one's work. We are all working to build an audience. So, I have asked contributors for links to their work online, and am providing links to places where their books can be purchased (unless they have expressly asked me not to).

Well, I guess that it's for now. I promise not to take another three months to update this thing.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. cati,

    i appreciate your description of how the journal is proceeding and also realize that i owe you a statement of "place." i like what i see at poemeleon so far and can't wait till june.

    warmly, chella