SMALL HEART BOOKS POETRY        I write mostly poetry, although this blog has gotten me to write more nonfiction.  That’s a good thing.  I do share many poems in their rough draft stages on my Facebook page, but I have a closed site and limit the views even there.  However, I don’t post my poetry here on my website/ blog just yet.

Why? I’ve submitted poetry many places, and editors/ publishers don’t want work that has been “published” elsewhere usually.  Mind you, only a few people are “reading” the poems there at all, but some will even claim a closed locked down Facebook site means
you’ve published your poem.

We poets are not writing Pulitzer Prize winning novels and posting them on Facebook!  It seems a bit silly and excessive to me to not be able to share and get my close friends’ critiques; however, with the poetry publication market as competitive as it is, I don’t want to ruin any chances I might have of publishing.

I admit to liking an audience for my writing.  Is that shallow? Probably.

Two good sites that are open to accepting poetry already posted on social media and personal blog posts and two I greatly respect are Rattle Magazine and Tuck Magazine.  (Links here: Rattle Magazine and Tuck Magazine.)

In fact, Tuck Magazine just published a poem I’d placed here; they simply asked me to take it down for three weeks and to link to them.  Sounds fair! Their goal is to INCREASE readership of writing about social issues.  I posted this poem here on the first day I created this blog, and now it is published here: Refuge Laura Lee Poem in Tuck Magazine.

Rattle Magazine is a top notch magazine of modern poetry, and its poems knock me out.  I can only dream of being published there.(I need to read and write more! Much more. I come away renewed with the power of poetry when I read their published poetry!)

Yet they don’t consider social media published for the sake of accepting work for competitions and possible publication.

Having said all that, I admit I am not a great poet.  I can write good poetry of a particular style, narrative poetry and dramatic monologues, the latter of which is out of style.  I have sometimes written good lyrical poetry.  I am not an academic but a caring reader and writer, so to me it’s okay I’m not making a living as a poet.

As if. DECADES ago I did research and found that only 9 people in American admit to making their living as a poet. NINE out of what–1/3 of a billion Americans?

So I continue to read and write. I should spend more time reading and writing, and now that I am a part-time worker, I will.

I’m fighting the impulse to return to full time work; I don’t want that heavy workload anymore.  Been there.  Done that! For DECADES.

So here’s to the talented poets and fiction writers and nonfiction writers–I admire you! I’m looking for more great writers to read, new or old writers, poet or fiction, for good literature really inspires me.

And I’ve only got so many poems in me–I don’t want to lose the right to publish them unless they are actually PUBLISHED elsewhere. I send out the ones I can stand to lose!  Since poetry doesn’t pay, I have many poems I just don’t want to lose.  I know. As if!

Keep reading and writing!

If you have any writers you would recommend or novels, I’d love to hear about them!

Laura Lee

5 thoughts on “On sharing poetry and losing ownership of your poems

  1. Although I write poetry, I don’t think I’ve ever submitted a poem to a publication. There are several reasons: I don’t like to compete, I like to share my poems as soon as I write them, I like to have control of my poems, and I am still developing as a poet. In addition, my style is not very modern. I like to try to write in traditional modes and forms, such as sonnets and heroic couplets. Poetry is like a fun creative challenge for me, and I don’t need a publisher’s approval to feel that I have made something worthwhile. I do, however, enjoy it when others read and appreciate my poetry. But that’s enough about me. I enjoyed your post.

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    1. Understood, Alan! I share many of the same reasons. I like to share right away, I DON’T like competing, I am still developing (although I am a senior citizen!). I found myself sending out poetry after being in creative writing communities. They helped so much. They can be BRUTAL, however; I did improve a lot. Every class I’ve taken? I’ve become a better writer. And to me, writing inspires me to write. Reading inspires me to write and read more. It’s a win/ win.

      But for me, I also don’t want to lose the rights to some poems I hold so dear.

      I am hoping by returning to journaling (blogging in this case), I’ll write more, be inspired to write more poetry, and improve my work. I have my eyes set on some publications I realistically won’t ever be published in! What a convoluted sentence THAT WAS.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, and good luck!

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      1. With a little bit of help from dictionaries and Google translate! Maybe I will try to find a creative writing community to get some face to face feedback on my writing.

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      2. At my age,I feel I can offer this advice (UNASKED, I KNOW!)–listen/ feel the critiques and filter them by what is true to you. If enough people say the same thing, you might want to consider working on that aspect OR realize you are unique. I still use way to many exclamation points but I’ve learned to use far fewer in my “poetic” writing because I kept hearing that over and over and over–lose them, they keep your poem from shining. That was helpful, plus reading others works. Good luck!

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