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

Two Great American writers: Alcott and Cather

 

Yesterday I images once upon a timewrote about Willa  Cather, a  great American writer. Links to her most popular novel can be found here: Full Text My Antonia Willa Cather.

And more information about this novel’s 100 year anniversary can be found here: My Antonia 100 year anniversary.

I believe I should re-read My Antonia next in tribute! It’s a precious novel to me, with characters I understand, from the plucky Antonia to the depressed and ultimately suicidal father who laments the harshness of the prairie life, missing his urban life back in Europe.

But we also have to have a look at Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.  Full text of the novel can be found here: Full text of Little Women.

Like Cather, Alcott felt her life was limited by being born female. Alcott saw her mother working day and night while her father was speaking to Emerson, Thoreau, and at times even Nathaniel Hawthorne; imagine those three greats as your neighbors.

I underestimated Alcott until I read more about her and saw PBS’s biopic, which may be found here: Alcott on American Masters PBS.

I regret I underestimated Alcott as a writer, being influenced by the rather young adult/ juvenile novels she wrote. She wrote so much more!  She supported her family of four sisters AND her parents (mom and all the sisters worked at whatever “respectable” women could do, while it seems the father was educated but not particularly inclined to work after his school failed)  with her writing of dark gothic stories and then these wildly popular “little women” type novels.  Of the latter, she disliked writing them but to quote Fantine from Les Miserables?  “It pays a bill.”

I would encourage watching this program and getting to know more about Alcott.

Of the three female writers I have written about so far, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcott, and Willa Cather, both Alcott and Cather did feel constrained by being female.  Anne Frank did not live long enough to learn what the world would do with her, a female writer, after World War II.  I don’t want to limit them by saying they are “just” women writers–they were good writers, period. Their gender, for Alcott and Cather, did limit their careers they felt.

Worth looking into further, this idea of how gender can partially become destiny.  All three were good writers, however, and I cannot help but wonder what they could have written if they were born male.

I believe the Bronte sisters in England, (Bronte sisters) published using male names, and I believe they also supported an intellectual father who, if I remember correctly, didn’t bring in much money to support the family. I will look into this further.

I am not a literary scholar not an academic; I am a caring writer myself who is in awe of anyone talented in writing.  I like to spotlight and give tribute to the greats as I can in my own small way.  In a way, it’s good I’m not a scholar but just an interested reader and writer myself, since that way I can be wrong and admit it if I am.

***Another issue to consider later on is social class; Cather, Alcott, and even Anne Frank came from families that might be considered middle class today.  I wonder if that is whey they could even dream of being WRITERS.

Anyone else have a favorite female writer? I’d love to hear about her!

One Hundred Years of My Antonia

I love the novels, short stories, and poetry of American writer Willa Cather.  She may  be best known for her beloved novel of the prairie, My Antonia

One hundred years have passed since the publication of this lovingly and well-written novel.  The Willa Cather Foundation  is remembering the novel with memories of the real life woman who partly inspired Cather to write about Antonia.

Only a book nerd would love this, and I love this.  Cather’s fiction is not flashy or trashy or shocking; they are loving but realistic looks into the beauty and the desperation of life.

Highly recommended.