the literary conversation

i’ve been thinking a lot on the necessity / urgency of submitting a chapbook manuscript or book manuscript or anything given the general lack of readership in poetry and that i live in a literary no-man’s-land, true to stereotypes for the south (though i don’t live so very rural or small-town as i could–there’s nothing literary in the 3rd biggest city in arkansas, though there’s quite a lot going on in the biggest and 2nd biggest). all that to say, despite my misgivings with longer collections, i’ve not really ceased entirely to send out my poetry to literary magazines, which garner even less attention and less remuneration than a book or chapbook poetry might. and why? why do i still send out those poems? i think its the literary conversation. though i’m not in the traditional university setting from which most of modern american poetry springs, i still have a desire for my poems to move among and speak to what is going on in our culture and in poetry in general. i think that my poems are probably more akin to a letter to the editor than a comment in a crowded lecture hall, but the fact that i still want to throw my two cents in means something, and maybe i ought to give second thought to letting those collections out into the world, however noisy it may be.

2 thoughts on “the literary conversation”

  1. Hi Renee,
    I’m a Baptist poet with five children, four of whom are still home-schooled, the oldest holds a PhD, and I couldn’t agree with you more. As a lover and (non-professional) writer of poetry, I’m sometimes dismayed by the fact that so few people seem to value the art form anymore. This has something to do with the way it is taught in our modern educational system: badly, if at all. The poems of Donne, Milton, Chaucer, and Whittier have always moved me. Creating is God’s gift to us, it reminds us of our human condition, and prompts us to really feel. I stopped submitting my poems years ago, and yet I continue to pen poetry to bring some semblance of order, to untangle my feelings and thoughts, but occasionally feel as you do about submitting. The greatest moments of satisfaction are not those of seeing our words in print, or being paid for a poem, but when someone says, “I was moved when I read your poem.” I just recently decided to start this site, mostly to document, to slow down and take notice of God’s fingerprints on my life. I’m still learning to navigate WordPress and how personal and intimate my posts should be. Like Donne, my poems sometimes take curious contradictions. They can be spiritual and physical when it comes to love, and I struggle with that on a personal level, sometimes feeling guilty for the words and thoughts that I read on the page, not wishing to be perceived as risque or secular …then I toss it in the waste-basket. I apologize for the length of this comment, it’s not often one finds another with such similar thoughts and feelings on poetry. I should very much like to comment again sometime if it’s okay with you. My very best to you, your family and your endeavors.



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