First off, big congratulations to fellow HappenStance poet, Matt Merritt, whose manuscript has been accepted by Arrowhead Press and will become a full-length collection in 2008. Matt’s poems are wonderfully observed and always have impact at a deep human level. It’s terrific news and well deserved.
My own manuscript is still crawling its way towards the outside world. I still haven’t sent it to any publishers, but I’m convinced now that it’s far stronger than it was a few months ago. I’ve added poems, revised a few that hadn’t quite hit the mark before, and chucked out a fair number. Thanks are due to Andrew Philip and AB Jackson for their perceptive comments on my earlier draft. Most publishers don’t want to receive a full manuscript at first – only a selection from it, the exact number of poems depending on their submission guidelines – so I’m going to have to give serious thought to which poems are the strongest. Sometimes my favourites aren’t the best ones. I'm also thinking about how to 'sell' it - how it hangs together, whether it's sufficiently distinctive (if not, there's no point in its existence).
I’ve also been printing off my favourite unpublished poems from my MS with a view to sending them to journals. I haven’t submitted a huge number of poems in the last six months or so, so I have a lot of unpublished material. The trouble now is deciding which magazines to submit to. I am making a list of potential magazines, but choosing the right poems for each magazine is really hard. My golden rule is to send only to publications I like or to publications someone I trust has recommended. That, at least, cuts down my options considerably!
I confess that I’m wary of many Internet zines. Not all of them – some are very good. But others seem to me to publish a kind of “McPoem” – worthy, decently crafted, and entirely dull – and an acceptance from any of them would be more worrying than anything else. Hmmmm, perhaps I’m being too harsh. Probably.