Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thoughts on publishing

That's about it for the beginner, for the one in early workshops, for the one who hasn't found her sea legs. The urge to publish is one of the greatest detriments to developing poets and should be discouraged from the start. There are millions of ways to get published, millions of poems getting published. Most of them are crap. Being a published poet is not a recommendation anymore, if it ever was. If you write to be published you will tend to write poetry you think others will consider publishable and may not ever find your voice, write with honesty, be proud of yourself as a poet. This is kin in my book to writing workshop poetry, poetry that is a product of what workshops generally regard as good poetry.

Get used to the notion that this is a demanding art and that very few meet the demands. The rewards are few and far between and publishing is generally not very rewarding either financially or in terms of personal satisfaction to the poet who cares about the art. Good poets will often become printed poets and the process of becoming one of them is arduous and publication was rarely if ever the goal from the outset.

Do the work of learning the craft, writing a lot, getting a critic, minimally workshopping and generally becoming a good poet. Forget about publishing. It's a lousy goal.

Nest post: The art of failure

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