Publishing Our Work

Publishing cycles of chosen subjects vary so much over years, especially since so much publishing of poetry now centers in university presses.  Yes, there are major poets who do write of nature, celebrating its beauty and reflecting upon personal meaning.  This is one of the themes that I love writing about with a passion. But it is in small literary presses where such poetry thrives.  I just bought a chapbook by Barbara Edelman which captures much of what I find in my own experience, including some presence of nature, of course, through the lens of her own personal experience.  We share a publisher, Finishing Line Press, a small, but highly respected, literary press. Its site address is in my About section.  Even before they published my work, I loved their online bookstore. For well over a decade, I believe, they have published about a thousand chapbooks by very talented poets of highly individual voice and subject. It is so worth checking out. Even if you don’t want to buy my book, and, of course, I hope you do, you may very well find something you do want to own and read. I have included a few of the poems from my book here on my web site. Finishing Line Press has also accepted my chapbook Perennial, which focuses on nature and spiritual experience.  They chose to publish my chapbook Spent first, which is about love, intimacy, the complexities of relationships.  I’m not sure why my publisher chose to release that first. Frankly, the order surprised me. But they are the publishing professionals, and I respect and trust them.

For those of us here online who are poets, it is a special gift to be published. The poetry market is very challenging. But then again, as writers, no matter what our genre or subject, being published professionally is a joy. It has been for me. When my own poetry is accepted and published anywhere, I feel the same thrill I first felt when my poems were picked for our annual college anthology. Then later in a city newspaper. Then in journals and anthologies. And then a book. I have been surprised all along my writer’s journey. I will write and seek to publish the rest of my life, as long as I am able to capture things I find meaningful. I might not ever be published again. We writers learn to accept rejection! But for me, as for many of us writers here I suspect, the writing itself, our passion for writing, is enough. More than enough.

On WordPress, each of us is being published.  Our words are being read and valued by readers, many of whom are also writers. I think it’s very important for us to remember this. Most of us write to share, or rather write what we feel impelled to, and then seek to share.  I’ve spoken about this before, I know. Some writers don’t wish to share their writing at all, or perhaps only in a small, personal, known group of people.  Writing is intensely personal.  But those of us who share our work online are here because we want to share what we observe, experience, think and feel with others.  We find each other.  We enjoy so much from one another.  We read work that resonates with us.  The genres, styles, and subjects vary enormously. I personally am so happy to discover writing totally different in focus from my own passions.  I think quite clearly we each as writers do find our voices best expressed in particular subjects and themes.  Over the years, I began to really reflect upon my own writing choices of subject and theme.  It’s been important to me in understanding myself, those I love or have loved, what experiences I value, whether joyful or painful or peaceful. And what has brought real meaning to my life and therefore to my writing.  No matter what our life experiences, we write of what we know and feel, with meaning that resonates, certainly with those similar to us.

Writing is truly a journey. Writing to publish is a challenge. Today, through online resources such as WordPress, we as writers are able to publish. It is a great gift to us as writers.  Some of us go on to self-publish, a tremendously diverse, unique and wonderful publishing opportunity with a wide market and readership. Many writers are learning to navigate self-publishing, many very successfully.  Many of us will seek professional publication, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  It is very, very important, I think, that writers never measure the value of their work by whether or not it is chosen by a professional publisher.  There are a number of magazines and other resources useful for a writer who does desire to be published professionally.  For me, the best is the magazine Poets and Writers.  It is a magazine for writers, with interviews with well-known, novelists, creative non-fiction and fiction writers and poets. Most relevant for writers seeking to be published is the list of magazines, journals, anthologies, and publishers, large and small, who are seeking submissions. There are also publishing contests from journals and other publishers seeking both experienced and inexperienced writers.  It is one way for publishers to find “emergent” writers.  Emerging, who are talented, who are writing, but who have not yet published. I have had a subscription to this for many years. There is also an online version.

Why have I written this particular post?  Truly, this is not about myself alone.  I wanted to talk about writing.  I always want to talk about writing. Witness all my posts about writing itself, the act of writing, the process of writing, the inspiration for writing, and on and on and on. I write for other writers as well as myself.  I write about us.  Publishing is something I believe most of us care about.  So maybe in a roundabout way, some of you might find something meaningful to you and to your own work here.  I hope so.

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