The Aftermath: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Network with other poets, including fans of Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog.
Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: May 22: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Wed May 21, 2008 10:39 am

Yes, definitely not. As with most poetic things, it's very, very subjective.

Skoder
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Re: May 22: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Skoder » Wed May 21, 2008 11:15 am

An online class I was part of had an assignment to write a poem without punctuation. I used line breaks, indentation, and capitalization in order to bring clarity to my poem. Of course, that was an exercise in communication.

That reminds me of a problem I have with long poems with no stanzas. After a while of reading with no white space, I often give up on reading that poem. If prose needs paragraph breaks, I believe poems of more than ten or so lines could use a stanza break or two.

Robert, bless your heart for responding to these posts early. I jumped in early simply because I am not an early person and will be gone part of tomorrow.

Sheryl Oder

AC Leming
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Re: May 22: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby AC Leming » Thu May 22, 2008 3:22 am

I know you said to write for a long time before submitting peoms for publication. I've been writing on and off for about 14 or so years.

Where would you suggest starting to submit? Local literary journals? Local literary magazines? Contests? I've been very hesitant about submitting my work, because I'm not sure it's quite up to snuff yet.

Brian
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Brian » Thu May 22, 2008 3:54 am

Hey Everyone, Robert should be here any minute so please give him a warm WD Forum welcome. He's all your for the day. :-)

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seingraham
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby seingraham » Thu May 22, 2008 4:33 am

Robert - I'm wondering if I want to enter some poems in a contest and one of the rules is that the material must not have been previously published, does posting them on-line in such a way as we did during the PAD - highlighted or not - constitute publication? Also, if you're submitting a group (3) of poems to a contest and there is no specification or guideline, do you think it's wiser to send three very different poems, or three that might be almost thematic? Thanks Robert, for letting us pick through your substantial gray matter. Sharon Ingraham

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: May 22: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 4:55 am

Hey, Alessa.

I'd say it's best to start off submitting to places that publish poets you like. After highlighting several of your poems, I feel you're ready to start submitting.

If you don't have a copy of Poet's Market, go to your local library or bookstore and check it out. It has tons of listings for literary journals and magazines, along with submission guidelines, links to their Web sites, and more. There's also a lot of helpful articles, how-to's, etc.

Best,

Robert

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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Mik » Thu May 22, 2008 5:04 am

Hi Robert, I was wondering is it a good strategy to enter as many contest as you can (and hopefully get some recognition) before publishing? Does that make any difference to a publisher one way or another? I am also curious as to how one goes about even submitting works for consideration. I've never published anything before and I'm not ready to at the moment but I would appreciate any advice you can give on how one would start and the process and maybe even a realistic time line.

Thanks for talking with us today!! This whole community is really amazing! Michelle Hed

I have to log off but I hope to be back before you end today!

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 5:06 am

Good morning, Sharon.

For the published question, many editors say that published is published, whether it's in the comments of a blog, on a public forum, in a private forum, in a print zine, or wherever. If a publication states this, then respect their stance on the issue and don't submit there. If they don't say anything, you use your own opinion. Personally, I feel that the poems people posted on Poetic Asides were all first drafts. Sooooo, if you revise them (as you should), they become new, revised poems. Some editors may disagree with this loophole in published is published logic, but...yeah. Don't be deceptive or try to cheat the system is my only piece of advice.

As far as the contest submission quetion--if you are submitting 3 poems, I'm guessing you're entering a best poem (as opposed to best collection of poems) contest. For those, it's best to pick 3 of your best poems, regardless of style. However, your chances probably improve if they are of different styles--after all, if all 3 look and feel the same, then you'll probably get the same result with each of them, which limits your chances of winning.

That said, don't dash off 2 poems that are completely different just for the contest. If you only write one kind of poem, and that's what you do well, then stick with what works for you.

Best,

Robert

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 5:12 am

Good morning, Michelle.

There's nothing wrong with entering contests. Just know that the competition is pretty stacked, because you're often competing for a monetary prize. Publishers do like award winning poets, but they often care more about the actual poems. And if you're thinking of publishers of collections of poetry, it's probably more to your benefit to build up your publication credits at literary journals and magazines. This helps increase your readership.

When it comes to publishing collections, it's becoming more and more frequent for poets to do this through chapbook and book-length poetry competitions--often put on by university presses. Something to consider.

Best,

Robert

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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Rox » Thu May 22, 2008 5:34 am

Good morning, Robert.

Just curious if you would talk a little bit about editing the Writer's Digest Market books. What do you find to be the most difficult part of editing them? Is the editing criteria clearly spelled out for you, or do you bring a lot of your own standards and criteria to the editing process, or is it more of a blend? What are some of the aspects of the job that most people are unaware of? It seems like a daunting, but very rewarding, job.

Thanks,

-Rox

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