I’m a published poet!
I’ve been doing performance poetry for about five years now, and I’ve got enough credits and slam titles to my name to feel I can call myself a professional poet. But until this year I haven’t sought to be published. When I was a student I got my words in print, and I like putting work online for commentary, but I never actively pursued publishing — or indeed the art of putting poetry on the page. My words were part of the oral culture, not the upstart artform that is the printed word. Somewhere in the middle of last year I started thinking seriously about what the page meant and what it was worth, and this year I began tentatively sending off poems to suitable seeming homes. I’ve had a fair few rejections, but the acceptances are starting to come through — and I get to feel like a débutante all over again.
It’s a totally different thing, getting accepted to a poetry magazine. When I perform, I know how good I was. Not because I either win or lose a slam, but because I have a direct relationship with the audience — I can feel their attention focussing or drifting, hear the earnestness or politeness in the applause, ride on the cheers when they come. I’m sharing the room with them, and I know whether or not I’ve done well. I feel secure — though of course I’ll only ever be as good as my last performance. But this getting published thing — all it means is that one enterprising person (or, if I’m lucky, a committee) has decided my work is good, or well-suited to this particular edition. I have no idea what my audience thinks! — and they’re who I’m writing for. I have to trust the editor’s judgement, and get my gratification solely from them. Receiving e-mails about poems is a rarity — it hasn’t happened to me yet. So my poems are officially out there in the world with the ISBN seal of approval on them — and I’m very scared for them.
Still, I’m also very happy.
I hope you like them:
A sequence of haiku about being on the dole at the end of winter in Haiku Scotland 29
Two poems involving involving bicycles in PANK Magazine’s “London Calling” Issue
“An Experiment Was Carried Out” in Drey Magazine Issue 2 (available for purchase soon)