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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How To Publish Poetry? Start By Using Complete Sentences That Make Sense.

How to get your poetry published? Use complete sentences.
As I strolled through my local public library the other day, I noticed that there are thousands and thousands of books. Some are prose, some are self-help, some are informational. There is a tiny section in a dark corner labeled POETRY. In writing forums, I see constant queries on How To Publish Poetry? Start by using complete sentences that make sense. 

For as long as the written word has existed, there has been poetry - phrases strung together that make us think, touch our hearts, bring us joy or churn our emotions.

Judging from the overwhelming books that contain complete sentences compared to the books containing poetry, I've come to a conclusion that the marketplace prefers complete sentences that make sense to cleverly constructed phrases that you have to sit and analyze for days to figure out the meaning.

I also think that poets are just too lazy to write complete sentences. They come up with a pile of really cool metaphoric phrases or emotional words and then have to sit there and assemble them into something that seems to make sense. If they just wrote complete sentences, and hid their poetic phrases between a capitalized first word and a culminating punctuation mark, they'd do a lot better.

Poets have been revered throughout time. Maybe it is because they challenge themselves to work in a world without sensible sentences. People dig the fact that they can cobble together words that actually convey an idea and don't flow like the words do on this page. Ingenious!

I still think the whole sentence accomplishes more.

Poetry, however, is the soul of music - specifically song. Music is just poetry with a chorus and a really cool guitar solo in the middle of it.

Writers and poets have conventions and they're both wondering, How do I get my book published? Or How do I get my poetry published? For some reason, the book writers have a greater success ratio - and they sell more books.

What is unique to poetry, though, are the poetry slams or poetry reading nights. They're like comedy open mic nights, but no one will be funny. These occur at coffee shops and usually draw six or eight people who have androgynous appearances or wild, artsy attire involving braided hair and feathers. Many of the poems deal with their uncertainty about their sexuality, their pain, their hatred of their parents, their pain, their femininity, politics, their pain or their inability to pay their bills after choosing poetry writing as a career. FULL SENTENCES.... I'm telling you... this could catch on.

Maybe I don't understand poetry. I've tried to write it. My last missive goes like this:


I am a cow depressed in a field.
Udder disgust milks my countenance.
My black and white,
only belies the gray.

My cud could use gum,
and bubble less.

I dine on grass.
No complaints about the menu.
My pies bring life to plants.

Moo is heard from a passing car.
Marginalization and mocking
before I wind up in the meat department

I moo not for you.
I moo because it is what I do.
My soul cries moo,
tears taint my milk.

A bell around my neck
rings of my slavery to the farmer.
He only thinks of profit.
I think of the bull.

OK... this is not a classic. I probably broke a bunch of poetry rules, which have nothing to do with grammar. But I sure could spout this to a group of angry lesbians at a poetry slam. It's as rich and as deep as some of the stuff I've heard. (There are some really, really great poets, and I don't want to diminish their work.)

How do you get your poetry published? Start by using complete sentences that make sense. 

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1 comment:

  1. That's some deep s*&t. I hope I don't step in it. KUDOS. I'm still smiling here in WI.


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