Day 5 Postcard Poem: FAIL

Alright, I admit it, I didn’t sent out a postcard today.  I’m still working on the poem, which was going to be based on Donato Creti’s The Education of Achilles by Chiron, but it just wasn’t coming.  

I think the problem is I don’t really dig Achilles.   He had a bad attitude and a bum heel, big whoop.   Chiron is much more interesting, being a tender but strong Centaur whose interests include medicine and astrology.  So I mostly wrote about him, but the poem has too many abstract words in it.  It’s just not gelling.  

And I would just choose another image and try to throw a new poem together, but I’ve already written the name and address of the person I was to send it to, plus stamped it.  So I’m a little bit stuck.  Chris is at his club this evening, so I plan to work on the poem some more.  Perhaps the silence will help.

So I had been thinking that no one was sending me poems for APPF.  But today when I checked the mail, not only were there 4 postcards, there were about 400 bills, magazines, and ads.  Clearly, the USPS just hadn’t been in the mood to deliver my mail.  

These are the authors and titles of the poems I’ve received:

  • Josie Emmons Turner, “Ella vive”
  • Andrea Bates, “Last Chair of Summer”
  • Russ Golata, “Ambient”
  • Someone who didn’t put her name, “I am 3 years now past you” (which was really the first line of the poem)

I tried doing some detective work on the anonymous poem, by looking at the master list and counting back several days, but of course the postmark on the card (which was kind of fun because she handmade by gluing pictures from a magazine on an index card) is blurred.

You can’t beat 4 pieces of personal mail in one day, but I think I’d rather have it spread out over 4 days just the same.  It’s hard to take it all in.

In other news, I sent off a chapbook today (not the one I mentioned the other day where I wanted to put together “left over” poems)–this is the sixth press I’m sending it to.   What was really nice about this press was that it only had a $10 fee–which is practically a gift.   We’ll see.  I also sent a submission out to a couple of journals.  Hopefully, something good will happen.

Alright, I’ve put off writing my poem long enough.  I didn’t forget you, Chiron, I promise.  I was just temporarily avoiding you.


For better or for worse, I’ve finished it.  “Horse Sense” still has a lot of abstract language in it, which I hope can be improved when I bring it to the DYPS (my writing group), but the postcard will go out in tomorrow’s mail as is.  I don’t think the poem is terrible, and as I said, the last line is very good.  The one thing I couldn’t do on the postcard was space the lines in couplets–I can only fit 16 lines on a postcard printing in teeny-tiny handwriting, so the spacing had to go. 


I already have three different chapbooks “in circulation,” which is a fancy way of saying that I’ve submitted them to several publishers/ contests and am waiting to hear good news.  Ok, let’s be real:  ANY news.  Two have not won the contests they were submitted for, but I continue to send them out.  Still, this is getting expensive.  I think I’ve already spent over $200 sending these chapbooks out.

When I hear about other people on the contest bandwagon, I know they’ve often spent way more than I have, but they persist because publishers have pretty much moved to the contest model of publication.  To some extent, I can understand this.  Poetry, after all, is not a money-maker, and publishers know they won’t recoup their investment, so they shift some of the financial burden on the poets who are desperate to get published.  Hence the proliferation of first book contests, as well as the myriad chapbook contests whose announcements fill up writing listservs.

There are some presses, such as the sublime Tupelo Press, whose publications are beautiful and glorious collections I love to read. Tupelo Press has open poetry reading period during July, and, because of the economy, has reduced the reading fee from $35 to $25, which, considering that small presses desperately need money, is quite an act of generosity.

As an aside, let me mention, if you’re looking for a fantastic book of poetry from Tupelo Press to read, for the love of Goddess, buy Kristin Bock’s Cloisters, which is so good you’ll cry.  I’ve already read it twice, and I got it like 2 weeks ago.  It will be the best $16.95 you’ve ever spent.

Anyway, I haven’t submitted a book to Tupelo Press, but that’s because I don’t have a book-length collection.  Oh, I have plenty of poems, enough to fill 60-80 pages worth, but my problem is, they don’t fit together.  They’re all disjointed.  So that’s why I’ve been working on chapbooks.

And all of this is by way of saying I’ve decided to put another chapbook together to send out, and am currently choosing among the rest of my poems to find ones that might (emphasis on might) resonate with each other.  It’s hard because the poems that are left over from the first three chapbooks I’ve put together have been excluded because they just don’t fit.

So I was thinking if I put 20-24 pages of poems together that don’t fit individually in the other chapbooks, maybe they will fit together by the very nature of them not fitting.  (Got that?)  In other words, maybe because they are disparate, I can create a collection that works because it doesn’t have an obvious theme.  I don’t know about that.

Maybe, too, I can write a few poems to help them gel a bit more as a collection–so if the theme is “difference,” maybe writing a few poems where that theme is expressed can help bridge the differentness of the other poems.  There’s a chance this idea might fall flat.  But I have some time, because the contest I plan to submit the manuscript to has an October deadline.

You might say, why not put all of these chapbooks together and slap a numbered section on each one, and voila, a book-length collection?  Don’t think I haven’t had that thought already.  But that won’t work either.  There’s no common thread among the three different collections other than that I wrote them.  And I’ve read enough poetry books that I can feel when the poems are organically organized, and when they’re clearly not.  Putting my chapbooks together would feel like… someone slapped three chapbooks together.

Anyway, beginning to organize this fourth chapbook is my goal for this weekend.  As is thoroughly cleaning the kitchen.  Hurrah.