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Waxing poetic.

2007-09-19 - 9:46 a.m.

Many people do not know this (though some of the readers here do), but Iím technically a ďpublished poetĒ. I put in the quotation marks because it was one poem that was accepted and published in one literary magazine. And I wasnít even paid for it. This magazine was set up as a means of generating money for charity so all the profit it makes, over and above paying its overhead, gets donated back to the community. Iím not sure if it accepts submissions by men but I know its target is the womenís community and the recipients of its largess are typically organizations such as womenís shelters. That all having been said, however, they do receive quite a lot of submissions from all over the place, so I was pretty pleased to be included.

Am I bringing this up to brag? Well, maybe a little bit. Mostly though, itís because Iím contemplating entering a couple of poems in a contest and am trying to hash through my feelings about entering and perhaps get up the nerve to actually enter.

I donít post poetry here, as a rule Ė itís one of the things I compartmentalize, hence the new name of the journal. I donít really think of myself as a poet or my writing as poetry, actually. When I submitted my piece to the magazine I didnít think of it as a poem, just a piece of writing in which I tried to capture a particular moment. It was only after hearing other people describe my piece as a poem that I realized it probably was. And I have to say, itís probably my strongest piece so Iím sorry that previous publication makes it ineligible for entry into this particular contest.

So, Iíve written a few others, and I canít post them here even if I wanted to Ďcause Iím afraid that would constitute being published, even if itís self-publishing and only a very small audience would see them. What Iím wrestling with is: do I enter any of them? Do I write more and pick the best couple? Are any of them good enough? Would anything I write be good enough? I tend to write simple, short poems and the judge's poetry is full of images like chili-pepper flames and snakes striking. Do I just let it lie until itís too late because if I donít put myself out there I donít have to worry about the reception my stuff gets? I know that if you donít play you canít win, but nor can you lose.

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