Either immediately, because you’re procrastinating about some other task, or after a long period of dusty avoidance, as if reading poetry were a chore. Bad poet. This summer, after nearly six months in New Zealand, the pile is high and dust rules.
Primed for irritation, because so many poems will be dull and yet the editors chose them over your brilliant productions. Even when a poem catches you, there’s another kind of irritation, because you want to follow that voice but turn the page and the spell dissolves. This makes you a hypocritical magazine submitter, because you prefer individual collections. Bad, bad poet.
Skimming analytically: what is great poet A, or overrated poet B, or obscure genius poet C up to now? What is the new editor choosing, how is the old editor’s taste evolving, are any trends beginning or ending? This is interesting to you as a poetry nerd (term encompassing scholar, teacher, fan). It is also important in a practical way: you will send poems to magazines X, Y, and Z again, despite the irritation described above. You can’t control how your poems are behaving (long poems with zombies, really?), but you can look for overlap between what your obsessions and what editors seem to like lately. Notice it’s not really long poems in the Thanksgiving Horror genre.
Hopefully, because you really do love poems and all these magazines will contain at least one astonishing thing that lowers your blood pressure again.
Pieces that made me stop skimming and fall into their gravity:
(because compost happens)
The work wants to be made
Writing from both sides of the brain
"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty
a poetry page with reviews, interviews and other things
Mundane musings from a collector of the quotidian
Writer. Editor. Throwback Surrealist.
The Parlando Project - Where Music and Words Meet
Poet, Writer, Instructor
Low-Residency Graduate Programs – MFA, MA, Certificate
Thoughts on writing and reading
poetry. observations. words. stuff.
breathing through our bones
(The poetry blog of Grant Clauser)
Into one's life a little poetry must fall