Last year, I entered poems into more competitions than usual. I wonder why I did this? Perhaps I was trying to win some money in a patchy year or trying to store up funds for whatever lay ahead? I’m not sure, but, in any case, it’s a good job I wasn’t relying on competition prizes to feed myself during the pandemic because I didn’t win anything. Non-competition poems received slightly better luck – two poems published by online magazines and one in print at Poetry Wales.
This year, again I don’t know why, I’ve reverted to submitting poems to magazines, rather than to competitions. Two were accepted by The North earlier this year, and one by 14 (magazine/anthology). Now, I’m waiting to hear the fate of quite a few poems under consideration – over twenty poems in all. This isn’t that large a number, given that it is three years and counting since my poetry collection came out with Nine Arches Press. Since its publication in 2018, I’ve been writing away in between all the other events in life and the poems have accumulated inside my notebooks. Of course, some poems have been going out and coming back from competitions and magazines for all of this time. On each return, some poems have been modified gently, and some modified with great force. I wonder if they will ever come to settle inside a book? Perhaps some never will.
Perhaps I want to see more of my poems in magazines because I am aiming for another collection, and so want my name out there and want to know that I’m on the right track – if a poetry editor accepts a poem, it must, at least moderately, be edging towards ‘good’, mustn’t it? whatever ‘good’ means. At least it is of a publishable standard according to one poetry editor – even if not all poetry editors, or readers, would agree.
Of course I haven’t only being writing poetry solidly for the past three years. I’ve also been working on a play and on visual pieces, that are possibly visual poems or collages, I’m still not quite sure what they are. Some of the work I’ve made might find its way into a book or be published in some way. In fact, at least one of my visual pieces from last year has just successfully sneaked into a poem (something I’ll write about in another post, I hope).
I’ve reached that time in this thinking aloud post when I wonder what quite it is I’m trying to say. I think I’m just writing in this blog when it’s drizzly and drab outside, after not properly blogging at all for a while, without a proper plan. I hope that’s allowed. Perhaps I’m thinking that writing is a solitary, strange, not always chirpy business, mostly a means of receiving mildly disappointing news. Sometimes, I wonder what it is all about at all. But so many of us just keep on with it, don’t we, in spite of everything.