Last Tuesdays Poetry; May 29, 2018

A few months ago I wrote a piece about the benefits of self-publishing especially to new authors. E.L. James and Fifty Shades of Grey would be a paragon of such. Self-publishing can be a great way to build your publishing resume and gain the attention on traditional publishers. Another great tool to add some bling to your resume is getting published in literary journals.

Just as there are vanity publishers that prey on the dreams of aspiring authors, there are some posers who seek to drain your bank account under the guise of publishing your poem or short story in their collection. Best to sidestep these charlatans no matter how tough the publishing world can be, but the how becomes tricky especially when they seem so legitimate.

One of my strongest recommendations would be to peruse the newsstands at Barnes and Noble bookstores. Barnes and Noble bookstores soar above its competitors in being a great resource to new and growing writers. Their well-stocked writing section is laden with magazines, journals and other notable periodicals providing credible avenues in which to be published. Competition can be strong for the more popular journals, so buy the ones that appeal to you and read them thoroughly to get a good feel for what they like to publish before submitting to them. I like to keep a list of what I have submitted, where they were submitted and what was the end result. Every acceptance and rejection is an opportunity to grow as an artist, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while. Keep reading, keep writing and keep submitting.

At our May reading we featured literary journal, Rattle, and one of its writers, M, came to tell us about it. Since it began in 1995, Rattle has grown from a bi-annual publication to a quarterly one and published a total of 2,243 poets to date. Of those, 404 were first-timers. They have a total print round of 10,500 copies, a circulation of 9,400 and 7,500 paid subscribers. To further highlight how Rattle has grown over the years, M displayed the first edition published as she quoted its raison d’etre, “to promote the practice of poetry.” M has collected every edition of Rattle. She went on to say that “at Rattle all are treated equally” regardless of background or education. M also added that “at Rattle, anything always goes; if a poem is accessible, interesting, moving and memorable. If it makes you laugh or cry, then it’s the kind of poem that rattles around inside of you for years, then it’s our kind of poem.” Toward the end of her presentation, M highlighted some of Rattle’s enticing challenges and competitions. All of which can be found at www.rattle.com.

Accompanying M were two of Rattle’s poets, Andrea Hollander and John Brehm, both of whom shared works that were published in past editions. Mr. Brehm’s ‘Etiquette’ and ‘Internal Revenue Service’ had the audience roaring with laughter at their humorous and sardonic insights. Ms. Hollander’s more serious and touching ‘Delta Flight 1152’, ‘Eating Mashed Potatoes’ and ‘Field Hospital’ were a lovely contrast to Mr. Brehm’s light-hearted works, in particular the latter two which were incredibly moving pieces about her father.

Our second featured guest that evening, Ed Skoog, read from his latest collection, Run the Red Lights. Given its own persona and written from the perspective of the book conversing with its reader, it was a treat to hear its poems verbally brought to life by Mr. Skoog. His inflections and pace nearly matched what I had felt as I read his book; the noir, the roadside diner and the interesting stories that leave your imagination hungry for more.

Please join us on July 31st at 7pm as we welcome back the evocative A. Molotkov. Mr. Molotkov will be reading from ‘The Catalog of Broken Things’, `Your Life As It Is’ and much more! We will also be featuring a new group of literary journals. Last Tuesdays poetry group is co-hosted by David Hill, Cathie Padgett and myself at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Vancouver, WA. All are welcome to attend this community event and, if they wish, read a family-friendly poem or two during our open mic sessions.

All of the books featured at these events are available for purchase either in the store or on-line:

Run the Red Lights by Ed Skoog

Evidence by Mary Oliver

HER. by Pierre Alex Jeanty

Tin House Candy by Holly MacArthur, Win McCormack & Rob Spillman

Ploughshares at Emerson College by Lan Samantha Chang

Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet

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