I Am Big. It's the Pictures That Got Small

for those wonderful people out there in the dark

11 July 2005

Poem Accepted in Gulf Stream

Got a poem accepted for the upcoming issue on "Postcards" for Gulf Stream magazine out of Miami. The editor is Jill Drumm, and she's a terrific young poet I expect we'll hear from over the next few years.

Oh, about the whole getting-a-poem-published-in-a-magazine thing is something of a tiresome subject for me. First, I am always grateful, knowing how many poems are turned aside for others. But I am hardly someone who submits all their work all the time, and especially for someone in academia, where promotion is often connected to where one publishes (and that's more and more the case even where I teach), I should be concerned about who publishes me. Even among poet friends, when we do talk about magazine publications, it's often about dropping names of New Yorker editors like Dana Goodyear or about marking accomplishment--when was the last time you were in Poetry?

I've pretty much abandoned those kinds of poses years ago, meaning that I did embrace them for a time. Now, it's about sending work to places where I like what the editors are doing, and that's why I more frequently submit to e-zines and smallish magazines than the more prestigious places. For instance, I think it'll be far cooler to be in this special issue than other poems I've had placed in larger magazines. And while my university might not recognize it, I think more highly of my work published in Caffeine Destiny than what appears elsewhere more reputable.

It's such a small world, really, this whole poetry business thing, that it gets to be pathetic to be engaged in publishing pissing matches, whether it's comparing grants, contests, presses, programs, and magazines. We (meaning those of us in the poetry world) are too inconsequential for these tempests to matter, and I kind of like it that way--remaining in the margins is what grants poetry its only power in our culture.

Yes, I realize that those of us privilege some margins over others, as if we can be the toughest, most irreverent, or if we can be representative of the most oppressed--but those are just sad pissing matches, too. It's all margin as far as I can see, unless you happen to have been Mattie Stepanek, and who really wants that main mainstream?

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