Monday, March 29, 2010

Poetry Announcement: Read These Lips, for Starters.

I am very excited today, because one of my poems has been accepted for publication by a lesbian e-lit magazine/journal. It is my first OFFICIAL publication in a poetry journal. Praise be The Lord (The Lord of Lesbian Poets, that is)! The poem will be published in Read These Lips. One of my poems was included in an unofficial poetry journal through the University at Buffalo's English Department (student-run, I believe but am not entirely sure about) back in 2004. They held a reading at a trendy spot in Allentown, but I did not attend. And, for the past two years, a couple of my poems/creative pieces have been included in the Western Illinois University Women's Center's Women's Voices Journal. I was very determined to engage fully in the submission process back in 2007, just after I graduated. I spent a few months editing my work and submitting to journals. I was submitting manuscripts to chapbook contests, too, though in retrospect I know I was aiming too high too soon. The goal then became getting a (single) poem published. Who will want to publish a chapbook of my work when I haven't published a poem? I guess I was foolishly hoping to "be discovered," and to have someone see potential and quality in my work. But that is not how it works.

Once again, I remind myself: the world does not revolve around Jessica Mason McFadden! So then the goal became getting a couple of poems published so that I could have "a list" in my biography, like all the "other people." Every journal that I was reading included biographies of poets with previous publications. I kept wondering, how does anyone ever get a start in the world of publication? If you generally have to be published (to have...a record) to get attention from journals, then how do you tap into that? I think, for many poets, the key is to engage in a network of some sort - either through a community of poets (yes, to engage in "the scene" wherever it/one may be) or through a graduate program in composition. Many graduate students seem to have an easier time "getting involved" and getting published because they are, by virtue of their academic endeavor, involved in and engaged with a community of writers. They also often have the advantage of being published by college journals (which are usually pretty darn credible). I am neither a graduate student nor a person in a geographical area in which a large network of poets (let alone lesbian poets) exist. I am also a stay-at-home mom, who is busy with the simple joys and sometimes daunting tasks of 24/hour, seven-days-a-week childcare.

Once I got pregnant with my first daughter, everything slowed down. Or just stopped. I was sick for three months, so that pulled me right out of the writing world I was trying to enter. From there on out, it was hard to somehow reconcile the two worlds: the childcare world and the world of writing and editing. Childcare is exhausting, breastfeeding is exhausting. It has been hard to get into writing, while feeling so exhausted. In order to write, I will need to do so with MANY interruptions. Unless I work late into the night, which carries its own difficulties (say, waking up early in the morning to start all over again?). I know I have a lot of editing work to do. I enjoy working with my poems, but I need to decide how to work it into childcare. I haven't figured it out yet, but I have managed to get my first poem published. So that's a start. Maybe the start I was looking for, or maybe something else. Time - she will tell. My five month old is crying. It's break time.

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