Tag Archives: Submissions

National Poetry Month Call for Submissions

Zingara Poetry Review is celebrating National Poetry Month this April by publishing a poem every day of the month and wants YOUR submissions.

  • Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems 40 lines of fewer in the body of an email, any style, any subject, to ZingaraPoet@gmail.com with National Poetry Month as the subject of your email.
  • Include a cover letter and brief professional biography of 50 words or fewer, also in the body of your email.
  • Submissions will be accepted through April 30th, unless otherwise announced.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let me know immediately if submitted work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Published poets receive bragging rights and the chance to share their work with a diverse and ever-growing audience.
  • Submissions which do not follow these guidelines will be disregarded.
  • If accepted work is later published elsewhere, please acknowledge that the piece first appeared in Zingara Poetry Review.
  • There are no fees to submit. All submitters will be subscribed to the Zingara Poetry Review monthly newsletter and digest.
  • Check Zingara Poetry Review every day in April to read great poems and celebrate National Poetry Month.
  • Send me your twitter handle and follow Zingara Poetry Review @ZingaraPoet and I will tag you the day your poem is published.

I look forward to reading your submissions. Happy National Poetry Month!

Organ of the Soul

Iphone Pics and Videos 007It’s cloudy and wet in Charleston today, the air swampy and pungent as is typical of August in this region. While I am still not used to it, I am less unused to it than I was three years ago when I moved here from Albuquerque. This morning, instead of taking my usual stroll around the neighborhood and down the bike path that runs through West Ashley, I opted for the treadmill at the gym where the air is at least somewhat controlled. I even followed up with 30 minutes of yoga before making a quick visit to the chiropractor for some therapeutic attention to what some call my “boulder shoulders”. I am blessed with a Tuesday/Thursday teaching schedule this semester so can look forward to spending my Mondays much in this way — at least until Midterms when grading papers will take precedence over feeling good.

Last week marked the beginning of the fall semester and was filled with last-minute revisions to class syllabi, office hours, and lesson plans. The early semester juxtaposition of high energy and intense focus sometimes makes me feel a little schizophrenic. Though I felt exhausted by the time Friday rolled around, I was charged from meeting this year’s new crop of students. I can already tell it’s going to be a great semester.

I opted to teach two classes this semester so that I might focus on other projects, namely submitting poems and poetry manuscript to suitable markets. Though it means tightening my belt and cutting out quite a few extras (and not so extras), I think that the trade-off will be worth it, even if it’s just more time to write and submit. Up until this year, my submission activity has been pretty light. I will be buckling down this semester and getting my work out into the world.

Meanwhile, poems for the 2017 Zingara Poetry Picks are streaming in at a nice pace and my community Creative Writing classes are going well. It’s great to be back in full-swing again.

I want to share with you a few of the thoughts that are running through my mind grapes this day; little odds and ends – snippets that might deserve further development or investigation:

  1. I think it is Borges who is credited with the theory that the soul is contained in the voice, at least that is what David Isay, founder of Story Corps, said in an interview by Krista Tippet in the May 12, 2016 “On Being” Podcast. When I google the phrase, I also get “the human voice is the organ of the soul” from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I like both of these ideas, especially when  thinking about, and writing, poetry. I’m going to ponder it all this week.
  2. The law of attraction suggests that like things are attracted to one another. In the physical world, this phenomenon is observable in H20 wherein polar molecules are attracted to one another like magnets: water molecules actually glob on to other water molecules. In the world of human constructs, it also seems that wealth attracts wealth, privilege attracts privilege, and power attracts more power. From these observations our culture has developed the theory that positive thinking can attract positive experiences and lifestyles; that we can manifest the life we want. It makes sense that this theory is not confined to what we consider desirable circumstances. Isn’t it also true that poverty attracts more poverty, addiction more addition, and violence more violence? Manifesting something other than what one is experiencing in these circumstances, while possible, is no easy feat. The move from poverty to wealth, for example, or violence to peace, requires nothing less than Herculean effort.
  3. And finally, this : able-bodied-ness is a temporary state for pretty much everyone.

That’s it for this Monday Minute. Leave your comments below and have an interesting, curiosity-filled week.


2016 Zingara Poetry Picks Complete

This morning, I selected the last poem for 2016’s Zingara Poetry Picks and am happy to report that this will be the first time in the site’s history that a poem will be posted for every week of the year. It also represents the achievement of a goal I have been chasing since re-visioning this project in 2010.

Zingara Poet is a labor of love, one that requires a lot of time which must be carved out of a of a busy life filled with such activities as grading papers, taking the cat to the vet, having the car repaired, paying taxes, fixing dinner, spending time with the husband, seeing the dentist, moving across country, finishing an MFA, and, oh yes, sleeping.

Still, I always approach the project with anticipation and always look forward to reading the submissions in my inbox. I am frequently impressed by the quality of work and often find myself contemplating a poem for several days — which often means my readers will, too. And because this year’s submissions have been so wonderfully awesome, I’ve lingered even longer than usual in making final selections.

Let me reiterate that previous point: This year’s submissions were truly wonderful. I am humbly grateful.

All this careful reading and busy life-living, however, imposes a longer wait-time for those who submit work. Some poets waited for as many as as eight months before hearing from me this year, and though no one has been unreasonably grumpy about this situation, I am looking into ways of cutting that wait-time down.

Firstly, there will be two submission periods for 2017. Poems submitted during the first submission period, August 15 to December 30, 2016, will be considered for the first half of 2017 (January – June, 2017). See submission guidelines for complete details.

Poems submitted during the second submission period, February 1 to April 30, 2017, will be considered for the second half of 2017 (July-December) 2017).

As always, I reserve the right to extend these submission periods.

Secondly, beginning August 1, (that’s today) I will be bringing an intern on board to help with administrative tasks, thus freeing me up to read and respond to submissions in a more timely manner. I will be introducing her to you in the next week or so.

Thirdly, well, there isn’t a definite third thing yet, though it is developing and involves a lot of brainstorming on my part. In any event, more great features and opportunities will be unveiled in the weeks and months ahead. Just know that I am moving toward making the project more visible and viable. Besides, building something carefully over time is preferable to doing too much too soon. Two big things can be enough for now.

Let me close by once again thanking all of this year’s contributors and readers. Zingara Poet means to be the change I wish to see in the publishing world. If you like the direction in which this project is moving, please submit your poems, subscribe to the site, and share widely with your friends.

Write On!

Tired of Literary Rejection?

Yeah. Me too.

This week I received three.

I can tell you that these rejections are actually a good sign because they are proof I sent out work when normally I just think about sending out work; evidence that I actually put together manuscripts of poems and submitted them to journals, presses, or contests instead of just creating yet another intricate spreadsheet mapping out deadlines, markets, and reading fees.

I can tell you that these rejections aren’t personal, but really, is there anything more personal than one’s art? Still, creative writing isn’t about writing to the whims and specifications of an editor, but writing what one is compelled to write. What an editor likes has little to do with it.

Finally, I could tell you that this business requires thick skin, except that I believe being a good creative writer requires getting in touch with one’s vulnerability and building connections with others, not developing thicker skin.

So it boils down to finding ways of normalizing rejection so that we can move on as writers, and spouses, and teachers, and whatever other roles we must fill in our daily lives; it comes down to trying on new perspectives and ways of viewing what we do so we can keep doing it. Here, then, are a few perspectives I think are worth considering:

  • Cultivate a positive mindset before sending out work. Be mindful rather than hasty as you carefully review the work you are submitting. Take time editing and assembling your material. Write a unique cover letter for each market, even if you wind up saying relatively similar things in every letter. Mindfulness reduces anxiety and increases confidence. Your work deserves no less. Even if later declined, you’ll know in your heart that you put together a solid packet of carefully reviewed material, and you can feel good about that.
  • Never, ever (ever, ever) compare your work or your list of publications to another. This will only initiate harsh self-criticism and drain you of your creative energy. All artists are at different stages in their respective processes and many are experimenting with different forms and ideas, some of which work, many of which do not.  All that is evident in a published piece is work that has succeeded in its goal (at least in one editor’s opinion), not the many (painful) failures that came before it. Further, editorial subjectivity rules out any kind of control, so you may just as well compare apples to oranges.
  • Submit more. Rejection letters hold less power when you are still feeling hopeful and high from sending out a packet of new and revised poems to the markets of you dreams.
  • Get busy on related projects. Go to readings, attend online courses and live seminars, get involved with or begin a writers group, teach others, read and write about craft, and stay current in your field. You will continue to develop and grow as a writer while keeping your skills sharp, two musts for future quality submissions.
  • Enjoy unrelated activities to cleanse your aesthetic palette and make room for new ideas. Enjoy a day in nature, become more involved in a hobby, take a course in something you know nothing about, visit a contemporary art museum to challenge your sense of what’s art, attend a live music event, try a new type of food, exercise a little harder than usual (but no pushing). You’ll be creating new neuro-pathways in your brain that will lead to new perspectives and ideas.
  • Play for the sake of play. No goals. No striving. No purpose. Be frivolous for an hour, an afternoon, a day, or a weekend. You will be amazed at how much better your mind works and how much more in touch with your creativity you will be.

While writing and publishing are, for most, the more meaningful aspects of a writer’s life, submitting and rejection do, despite their tedious nature, have important roles in the development of an artist. If there are ways to make these aspects of the process less difficult for those who, like myself, are bothered by them, well then these approaches should be explored and practiced — for the sake of everyone’s well-being.

For a sample collection of rejection letters received by well-known writers early in their career, have a look at Literary Rejection Letters.