The back story:
2014 was a fruitful year. My best since I’d started writing poetry in 2008(ish). And my best to date. Whilst on sick leave following my first hip replacement, I made myself a spreadsheet to better keep track of poem submissions and consequent rejections/acceptances. I’m pretty sure it’s not as fool-proof as the Jo Bell method or as eye-catching as Kim Moore’s colour-coded one described here but it’s certainly a vast improvement on previous tabular efforts at keeping tabs on my poems’ venturing forth to speak for themselves. Between March and November that year, 15 poems were accepted for magazine publication, either in print or online. 8 of these, also published in my pamphlet, Beyond the Tune, made it under the wire to magazines before BTT‘s September publication date.
2015 successes were much thinner on the ground: 1 poem was published in issue 11 of The Lampeter Review; 4 of my pamphlet poems also appeared in the Soundswrite Press anthology; 1 poem was commissioned by University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing: a total of 2 new and 4 previously-published poems accepted.
A bit of a sob story:
2016 saw me in The Slough of Despond, at times. I wrote less; I had far fewer poems worth submitting. Life (and joint pain) took over and the only thing that kept me writing (and believing in myself as a poet) was my Bru Leicester Writes residency and commissioned sequence of poems (and Leicester City’s footfall fairy tale, of course).
3 of the 6 poems are published in Welcome to Leicester, an anthology of poems about the city (Dahlia Publishing) being launched as I type (sadly I’m unable to make it). And 1 pamphlet poem has been published in Half Moon: poems about pubs (OWF Press).
What’s the point?
Like all writers, I sometimes get to thinking that I’ll never again write anything worth publishing. Or anything at all, apart from a few lines of barely-legible scribble (drivel) in a notebook that’s been on-the-go forever. I congratulate others on their successes while suffering Imposter Syndrome (and maybe I read other writers’ blogs to know I’m not alone in this). And what of that spreadsheet begun with such purpose a couple of years ago? Many/most of those rejected poems aren’t currently being re-submitted. I’ve decided they need further work, or they’ll never be the Real Deal and have been consigned to a sub folder (‘Dubious’) of a sub folder (‘Unfinished’). Currently, I’ve more time to write but have written very little. My only fledgling is back in the WIP nest recovering from a first flight to a workshop group.
The suspension of disbelief:
Recently, only 4 poems have remained ‘out there.’ Of these 4 poems, the same 2 have received encouraging comments from 2 different editors:
- both made it to the final round of selections for the current issue of a magazine I rate highly
- both were deemed ‘strong’ (with reasons given) from a batch of poems submitted for feedback during a certain widely-respected ‘open window.’
It’s official!!! ‘Unreserved Coach B’ is one of 50 winning poems chosen by competition judge Luke Kennard for The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 (Eyewear Publishing) due for publication next March.
And the other ‘hopeful’? I’m keeping the faith 🙂