Sunday, July 3, 2011

Advice for Poets Who Don't Want to Be Published

Are you a poet trying desperately to avoid publication? Who isn't?! But sadly, submissions are just part of the job description. There are, however, some steps you can take to ensure your poetry never sees the light of day. Follow these rules and you'll be on your way to wallpapering your studio apartment with rejection letters.

Before You Submit
  • Be sure to write poems that include any or all of the following words: angel, blush, roses, soul, caress, tear, rain, raindrops, wind, memory, heart, death, agony, sadness. BONUS: If you use any of these words as a title, you're platinum, baby.
  • Can't think of a way to end your poem? Don't fret. Do what prose writers do: "The End" never fails. 
  • Never revise your poems. They are perfect the moment they hit the page, spelling errors and all. Spellcheck could not possibly understand your wisdom.

The Submissions Process
  • Begin with a long cover letter that addresses the wrong editor, or better yet, the wrong publication, making it obvious that you blindly submitted to ten publications. Mention that you've never read the journal, but you really liked their website.
  • Submissions guidelines? Who cares! You need to believe in yourself. Send along at least 10 of your best pieces and be certain you use an eye-catching font like Chalkduster.
  • Bios! The longer the better. Brag brag brag. Win the science fair in high school? Tell them. Include every publication you've ever gotten (even the one from junior high when you and your best friend made an "underground" zine called Hooch & Words, written while buzzed on cough syrup). Also name drop. Better yet, include a list of the last five places that rejected you and say something terrible about the editors. Also include lots links to various pages on your blog that you haven't updated since 2007.

The Aftermath
  • Email the editors weekly to be sure they received your submission. If you don't hear back, resubmit the same poems again. You can also look for them on g-chat and IM them by saying, "hey editor! didja get my poems? i bet ur gonna luv em!" 
  • When you finally get your rejection letter, follow up with a casual response in which you tell the editors they must be blind to not recognize the UTTER GENIUS that are your poems. Expletives and name-calling will surely get your email address blocked, thus ensuring you'll never, ever be published in their magazine.

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