August, Poetry Challenge Month?

6 wordle         For decades, August has been my strongest “urge to poetry” month. Something about the light, the sounds, the smells–all is so REVVED UP. Poets, agree?

I used to be in vibrant online writing communities, and every August we would have a poetry challenge.  We would write a poem a day, no editing allowed, just to “rev” up our creativity.

It was glorious.

We (I!) wrote a lot of bad poetry, but I am still finding some snippets of good poetry on old flash drives and in old posts.

Hmm…perhaps it is time to reinstate an AUGUST POETRY CHALLENGE?

It couldn’t be here, on a public blog, I fear, for that would preclude subsequent publication.  Perhaps back on good old Facebook, with a private account only friends can access.

There’s an idea!

Readers, writers, what do you think?

Thanks for reading.

On sharing poetry and losing ownership of your poems

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

And *this* photo was a writing prompt!

IMG_6070                     I kept this photo for nearly 18 years.  We produced some interesting (erm!) writing from this photo prompt.  I know a few friends and I are clownaphobic, and this really spoke to us. Wish I could find the writing.  I am sure it was BIZARRE.

Try, just try not to think of this photo as the day goes on…the red hands, the red throat… Sinister and humorous at the same time.

I miss the MSN writing groups

coffee and writing

I remember getting up at 3:45 AM to have time to read, write, and post at my favorite MSN writing sites before work.  I wanted to read what my peeers close and far were writing and reading.  It was a great experience for nearly nine years.

And these groups were easy to find.  We could simply go online and have them right there somehow, in our logons to our computers.  Yes, MSN was that mighty.  After the groups closed in 2006?  2007? We did look for comparable sites, but none were as easy to use or provided what we wanted. We tried Proboards and some groups that were plagued by nasty viruses.  We tried Facebook groups, and some of them are good.  Some went to blogs.

But what we didn’t find was a community in the sense of what we did have.  That’s gone. I was able to meet a few of the members of these groups, with some coming as far away as New Zealand and England, and finding one dear talented poet and fellow teacher from Iowa…

More than once we had writing prompts based on photos or images.  One was some type of floating supernatural ball. Wish I could find the image! This one isn’t it…but will do.  From that, I wrote  many versions of this poem:

COLD ONES RULE

Earthbound no more
not flying
but landless

cities melted
lights mock
our little kingdoms

domed over, micro-sized
feel your humanity
slipping, slipping….

hang on to your souls
those skittish, slippery
links to warmth

the cold ones rule

(c) L. Lee 2000