Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In the 100s

I find it odd that poets sometimes boast in bios that they've had "hundreds of poems in hundreds of publications." I counted the other day and I've had something like 70 poems published, and of course looking back some of them weren't very good. Even now, looking at my "finito" file, there are poems I could publish somewhere, but I'm not sending them out because they're rickety. But there are a lot of crap journals, just like there are crap poets. Not that people who have had "100s of poems in 100s of publications" are crap poets - I just don't think it's a bragging point. When I read a bio, I find it more memorable when someone says "I stick a garlic clove in each meatball before cooking" than when they get to journal #8 in the pubs list.

Anyway, had some good/bad news. A magazine accepted "For Luisa, Waiting to be Fetched." Had to tell them it was already taken. Kind of a bummer, though the journal that took it is a good one. And I had actually sent a note withdrawing the poem. They weren't irritated, and said, yes, they'd overlooked my withdrawl note.

Anyway, cool and wet here. I'm making tomato sauce. I let five or six fat garlic cloves soften in warm oil with onions, bay leaf and carrot before adding the tomatoes.


Bob Hoeppner said...

Yes, I usually wince a bit when I read the "hundreds in hundreds", though I'm all for people being prolific and accepting of each other's work. Then again, I often wince when I read of the awards/prizes an underwhelming poet has received. I've gotten to the point where I don't much notice it anymore. I'm too busy with the constant struggle of trying to balance accessibility with being more than superficial.

Carl said...

If you have to tell people you're famous...

One of these days, I'm going to read the wrong thing and my head is going to explode.

SarahJane said...

It's wonderful to get published, of course. But it's even better to get published by good publications.
There are actually a few (famous) poets I can think of who have written "hundreds of" very good poems. Most of them had 40-50 years or so to do it.

michi said...

i agree with you, sarah. i'd much rather read something a little more personal, something about the man/woman behind the poem in their bio than a list of pubs. but then, there are quite a few journals who ask you "please do not tell us about your cat, your favourite dessert or [insert sth personal here]", because "we, and our readers, are interested in your professional life ONLY", ie your credits, your pubs. as if that's what a poet is all about, only a list of pubs.

i sometimes add journals to my bio only if i want to spread the word about them, because i like the zines ("recently published in X magazine").

i cannot stand it when someone goes "i am a writer and i have had hundreds of poems published, i have been in every online zine there is, or ever was, and am now making the rounds of print journals".

enough said.

i love listening to mozart on sunday mornings. which is what i am doing now. :)

SarahJane said...

m'dear -
wishing you a melodious morning.
i am a trained seal by profession, moonlighting in poetry.

Pris said...

I had to smile at this post, too, in recognition of how many times I've seen this, as well. Since I'm fairly early into writing poetry, I used to write numbers until a poet friend clued me in:-) Now I try to balance a bit about myself along with naming the journals I've been in that I like for people to be aware of, too. (I probably still put in too many journal names:-) But yes, I've seen poetry that was just awful with the poet listing 'hundreds of publications' and yes, there are a lot of journals out there that are pretty bad, along with the good ones. Good post.

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