an invitation to poetry


I love the feeling of finishing the poem. when I finally get that title right, find the right image, and the ending clicks-closed.

As I’ve started timidly sending out my second collection (or, honestly, just really thinking and thinking on sending it out), I’ve felt like it is another rose petal to throw into the grand canyon, what difference does it make really?

then I write my first poem in four months or so and the first thing I really want is someone to read it. because poetry is communication and should be read.  I want someone to read it and say “oh, me too. I feel like that too”.

But I hardly ever have someone read a poem when it is fresh-written and by the time it is published (if ever) and put in a journal and linked online, that I-just-wrote-this feeling is past and I’m onto something else, maybe an entirely different book and direction of poems.

If you’d like to read some fresh-written poem-drafts let me know in the comments. I’d be happy to email them to you just to feel like a real-live person (besides an editor—are those real people?) is reading them (no critiques, compliments or responses required).

10 NEW $$ PAYING $$ LIT MAGS Currently open for submissions


send out those poems and maybe get a little spending money!

Originally posted on Trish Hopkinson:


The literary magazines/journals listed below are recently established or considered to be “fledgling” on Duotrope. All offer some form of payment and are currently open to submissions. Fledging journals are a great way to cut your teeth if you’ve never been published, often have faster response times, and may be more personable to work with. Their readership is often lower than more established magazines, but if you like the overall style of the magazine, why not support it and start what may continue to be an ongoing partnership? Several lit mags promote and share work of their previous authors, feature writers they particularly like, and nominate for awards such as Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Take a look at the list I’ve provided below, read the submission guidelines carefully, and select pieces to send that you think best fit their aesthetic.

If you like this post, please…

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basically, my typical letter to editors

Dear Editors,

I admire your press / journal, and since it has been some months past the indicated reading response time in the submission guidelines, I wanted to check in with you on my submission. I realize that you are likely drowning in a slush pile, mine being part of that slush, and haven’t even seen it yet, or you have seen it and don’t like it but haven’t sent out the rejections yet, in which case I’m sorry to have bothered you. You can disregard this email; in fact, maybe delete it without reading the entire thing? Or opening it? I’m so sorry to have bothered you, and I hope this email has not annoyed you too much. Thanks again for reading my work, if you did read it, and for reading this email, if you did read it; I love your press/journal/organization and wish you all the best!

Sorry again!

all the best,


bryan says that i suffer from a little bit of insecurity and timidity with sending out my writing; that i could stand to be a little more “bold”. i suppose i could edit out half the apologies.

did i mention that my hands sweat when i write these letters?

The Fourth Trimester

When Wendy was about 3 days old, I went to Walmart on a late-night grocery run (because 3 kids under the age of 4!?), and when I was checking out, the teenage cashier asked me when the baby was due, and that she thought pregnant women were just Adorable. I told her the baby was due like a week ago but I had her three days ago, and she apologized all over herself, but I told her it was ok, how could she know? my body still looked pregnant.

Then I told her how *most* women, even those of Princess Kate beauty, go home from the hospital with at least a little post-baby belly, it’s just how God made women’s bodies to work. You are Kidding me, she said, looking at me, in my flip flops and workout pants and maternity shirt. No, I am for real, this is how most women look. She just raised her eyebrows and said that she thinks kids are so cute but not for her.

I was surprised too about what a post-partum body looked like. I guess I was never around (or never paid attention to) post-partum ladies when I was growing up or even when bryan and I were first married. I really want my daughters to know about these normal sort of changes so they aren’t as surprised as that cashier was when they don’t fit into their skinny jeans (if those are still popular—let’s hope not!) on the way home from the hospital with their families years from now.

Even with this being my third baby, it is still so hard not to feel insecure and just generally negative about my body image while post-partum. I know it is a very worthwhile sacrifice, my “figure” for three daughters, but I am still not ready for real pants yet (thank you, inventor of jeggings and tunics!)

Why would it bother me though to look post-partum, when I knew to expect it, I’ve been through it twice before, and I know it is just a season? I suppose it is really because of feelings of entitlement—that I Deserve to look like how I used to look—feelings of wanting to “conceal” any imperfections so that I can appear to be “perfect”, perhaps fear of being rejected or looked down on? I don’t really have any wisdom to share here, just questions I’m asking myself.

Bryan sent me shopping today to buy some things that fit (he’s pretty awesome that way). I hate shopping, unless it is thrift shopping or yardsale shopping. I like to wear my clothes until they have holes in them (and a little past then), and I prefer to have not bought my clothes at all but to just wear hand me downs from my sisters or friends. If I do buy clothes, I like to buy my clothes for $10 or less. Bryan says this is being a little cheap and that we can actually afford for me to wear clothes.

So today was a little bit painful. I went to an Actual Store, with just one kid (like a vacation!), and tried on so much stuff that fit horribly and awkwardly until I finally found  some leggings, cropped pants, a couple tops that will work.  When the girls get home from their parent’s day out day, I’ll give a fashion show, which they will adore (especially if they get to  try on mommy’s clothes too). there will be dancing and and music and high heels involved. and less time spent criticizing myself for not being my own ideal.

a state of the poetry update

so, instead of cleaning the bathroom toilets, i am writing this blogpost with an update on my writing. (i am therefore also writing this blogpost instead of writing poetry…).

wendy is almost three months old and i don’t plan to really write until she is six months old. mostly because my Hormones make me crazy until around then (if this time is like the past two times–it is hard to see the crazy when you are experiencing the crazy personally though. but bryan says i control it–or hide it–much better this time around).

and i know “crazy” is supposed to be good for poetry, theoretically, or art (cutting off ears, etc, craziness), but for me it really isn’t so good for my writing. i write complete Mush. the sappiest mushiest slush poetry you have ever seen.

so i’m writing, very slowly, this one poem about a spider right now, but i’m only casually working on it here and there with no plans of it really going anywhere.

before the baby came, though, i did get my second manuscript together. interested?

a few facts:

  • the working title is “Threshing Floor”
  • it is all persona poems
  • in the voice of Naomi (primarily), Ruth, Boaz, Orpah (from the biblical narrative of Ruth)
  • somewhat modernized, in today’s “world”
  • i’ve published probably 30 – 40% of the poems (see links HERE)
  • themes of barren and fullness, family, questioning God’s will, predestination, being a mother, a daughter, a wife

i sent a book proposal to a press about a month ago, but suspect i’ll get a “no thanks” pretty soon. my plan is to start sending it out in the spring–i don’t feel a rush to publish it. in fact, often, cleaning the toilets feels more important. i guess i feel like poetry takes so much philosophy and delving deep into what’s going on with my soul and right now my days are completely bent around caring for the immediate physical needs of others (and speaking some Gospel into this house at every chance, we need it!).

i have been reading though and i do believe “reading is writing” (truly!). so maybe the poems will come again soon or in a month or in six months. i’m not afraid to wait–there’s no escaping who you are really.

miscellany vol. 22


it’s been awhile since my last update–i’ve had my hands full (pictured above)

so here’s a little family update–

Bryan is still enjoying his new job and has started playing guitar in the wednesday night praise band at church

Zuzu loves being a big sister (or “little mama” sometimes) to wendy. she’s learning lots in her little 2-day-a-week preschool (like how to hold her pencil with an “alligator chomp”). both of the big girls have been in our church’s preschool for the past month, and they love it, but i’m dropping them down to one day a week starting next week. i really struggled with that decision and might go back to two days a week, but ultimately i felt like our schedule was too hectic when they were gone all day two days a week (plus, i missed them!). so we will see how it goes! if i can’t get my work done, then we might have to go back to two days–or have a little extra help from their awesome grandparents =) anyway, zuzu is my little extrovert, so all the church involvement we’ve started this fall has suited her just fine.

June is so very ready for potty-training, but i am not! i feel like the worst potty-trainer in the world because of all the difficulties i’ve had with training zuzu. i suppose i’ve got to get over it and plunge ahead. ah and ready myself for cleaning up accidents, so oh so many accidents.

Wendy is supposed to get on a schedule this week. she’s a little over two months old, so nursing every two hours needs to stop. i honestly haven’t tried to schedule her at all until today though, and she’s taking to it (so far..) pretty well. the ultimate goal is to have a schedule for all three that meshes together–and provides a 3-child-coordinated naptime every afternoon (one can dream…)

As for me, i’m teaching online and keeping my head above water. I did reread “the old patagonian express” by paul theroux–a nonfiction travel book about taking a train from boston to patagonia. and some various poetry books. not much writing right now, though i plan to get to it soon–in the next month or so. right now i’m giving myself a little leeway with expectations