Monday 23 April 2007

getting published with poetry

I am editing- well doing the twice yearly reading of submissions for Tears in the Fence- I am the Australian editor of the UK literary magazine. Although I cull I don't have absolute final say of what is selected- but there's a good chance. What makes a poem stand out? Well that's easy- good writing. But what is good writing? Even though it is free verse it should still have rhythm and as it is read it should sound like poetry in that inner ear. Difficult? No, a great poem shows me something new in the world- it should use concrete words- unusual words in new ways. Give me precise nouns and precise verbs. Allow the emotion to be liquid, a blood vessel pumping the breath of the poem with vigor and energy.

Here's a couple of cosmetic hints :
don't send blurred photocopied sheets of poems, do put your name and address on each page- believe me submissions appear each time without this basic requirement
Read what is currently being printed- try these poems for emotional factors, the use of concrete nouns and verbs
Look at titles- which propel the poem along? Which titles become an intricate part of the whole poetic read and re-read, which titles do nothing for the poem?

All this is valuable research for your own poetry writing and success in the small literary press publications arena.
Keep sending work out.
Keep writing.
Keep reading.
Keep analyzing contemporary work.

Tuesday 10 April 2007


Easter was a great time for my big family and a chance to catch up. although Natalie and Danny in Sydney had to work hard over Easter with the Sydney show and Jared and Bunyawee with the restaurant. We actually watched the Bendigo Easter procession from the balcony of the colonial bank building in Pall Mall- maybe many other people through history have looked at the procession from this same vantage point.

I love the YMCA annual book fair held over the Easter period- second hand books- and two bags full for $20.00! Although I have been culling my book shelves severely throughout the year and have taken in bags and bags into the book bins for just such an annual event as this. Maybe a lot of those books I took in came from the same sale years ago. What I loved were the young mums and dads with kids looking through the children's section and finding treasures. And also marveling how many different books there are!!! I didn't really look in the poetry section this year, but looked in the cookery section and found some treasures for my sister and myself.

I also found another book in the Green Knowe series by Lucy Boston and am revisiting the books- what marvelous fantasy- gentle and perceptive. I also found one of those Scholastic book fair books- where one enters snippets about friends- well I found a diary partly filled in- what material for an author! Next year I won't go before 9- that long queue all the way around the block and will look more leisurely at all the book sections. And cull my own book shelves over the year!

Tuesday 3 April 2007

note book

The loss of my laptop still reverberates. I am back doing longhand writing of stories- I always prefer longhand in the composing of poetry, but began using the quicker way composing straight onto the laptop and then transferring to print out on the master computer. No more.

There is nothing more interesting than trawling through past notebooks- and seeing some possibilities in fragments of lines or ideas. My latest book 'The girl who turned into Treacle' Aussie Nibbles- due out July 2007 was started and then left languishing as a fragment. I had middleitis. It wasn't until I was recuperating from an operation that I re-read that particular notebook and found the story, found the solution and straight away completed the story.

Some fragments remain just that- but in the long haul are part of the writing apprenticeship and must be expressed.