Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Guest post: why I don’t give in to submission by Mark Antony Owen

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

pile of magazines

The other day on Twitter I was chatting with Mark about a poem he’s written recently, and he happened to mention that it’s his policy never to send his poems out for publication in magazines. As this is a bit of a break from the usual poetrythink, I was intrigued to find out why… and thought you might be, too. So I invited Mark to write a guest post! Enjoy…

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The thinking goes like this: if you write, you write to be read. And as a poet, I certainly want to be read. So why don’t I submit my work to respected journals and sites? Or rather, having had five poems accepted for publication and only one rejection, why did I stop submitting? My thinking goes like this …

Poetry journals, in print or online, can be a great way for readers to discover new writing, new poets. At their best, they’re a platform for excellence – a filtration system that keeps the ‘bad’ writing from the ‘good’.

But journals can also skew one’s view of a poet or their work – as I discovered by accident.

Having read some print and online journals, I found several poets whose work I admired and whose collections I went on to buy. What was shown of their work was, I found, representative of their style and subject matter. Bottom line? One happy reader/customer. But there were also poets whose output I initially rejected as a result of seeing their work, in isolation, in journals. Poets whose collections I later dipped into in bookshops, only to find I actually quite liked other of their poems.

Frankly, I felt a little bit misled.

Now of course, it would be terribly unfair to journal editors to castigate them for having their own literary preferences and choosing to publish only those works which they deem to have merit. And anyone who reads a particular journal for long enough will surely get to know an editor’s tastes and can then decide whether or not these match their own. But the fact remains that journals can only showcase a poet’s work as a ‘slice’ – at first, anyway. And that slice may not cut it for everyone.

So we come to my reason for not submitting. Is it fear of rejection? Is it fear of the agonising wait for a response that might be a rejection? Is it artistic arrogance? It’s none of these. It’s simply that I don’t believe my own poems stand up well individually. By which, I don’t mean each poem isn’t readable or even rewarding in its own way. I mean that I conceive my poems as details in a larger canvas. Yes, you can appreciate them close up. But I prefer them to be seen within the context of a collection. I just think they work better that way; and it’s completely unreasonable of me to expect them to be seen this way if they’re being published in ones and twos across various journals.

Let me be clear – I’m not knocking (or rejecting) journals. I’m simply saying they’re not for me or my work. At least, not now I’ve found my style and have a broad creative vision for my writing. You might think: ‘If you don’t submit, how will you be read?’ Good question – and one to which I don’t have a good answer. All I know is that I’m not about to give in.

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Mark Antony Owen is a poet who writes exclusively in syllabic metre. His poetry draws on that world where the English countryside bleeds into ordinary suburban living – a world he refers to as ‘subrural’.

Mark builds around details of subrural life to create economical poems; each obeying one of nine self-developed forms or variations on these – his subjects often painted a little darker than they really are.

From autumn 2013, Mark will self-publish ‘Subruria’: a multi-volume collection he describes as part sketchbook, part journal, part memoir.

You can find out more at Mark’s website or follow him on Twitter.

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Want to write a guest post for One Night Stanzas? Email me a short, informal pitch to claire [at] onenightstanzas.com and we’ll talk!
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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Guest Post by William Soule: Writers to Read Part II — Billy Collins

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

You should remember Will’s post on Bukowski from a couple of weeks ago, and more recently, my collection of Billy Collins poems from YouTube. To continue the general theme, here’s Will again with Part III of his “Writers to Read” series, this time focussing on the great Mr Collins.

“…the trouble with poetry is that it encourages the writing of more poetry…”

A poet known for his accessibility, those of you that don’t read poetry because it’s hard to “get” won’t have a hard time with Billy Collins, a former U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-03) from New York City. A winner of multiple awards and honors including the “Mark Twain Prize” and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, Collins has become one of the most well known poets of our time.

Although an English professor at Lehman College in New York, Collins has a passion for helping young readers appreciate the world of poetry, doing readings at different high schools across the U.S. and even releasing two anthologies targeted for schools entitled “Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry” and “180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day.” Both books feature 180 poems, one to be read for each day of the school year. The Library of Congress also maintains a website called “Poetry 180″ with poems selected by Collins. Read the first poem there entitled “Introduction to Poetry.” The poem is also found in his “first real book of poems,” as he describes it, entitled “The Apple that Astonished Paris.”

During his laureateship, he addressed the special joint session of Congress that was held in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks with “The Names.” The abecedarian-type poem goes through different names, reminding us of the very people we see everyday with “Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers, / The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.”

Do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find many readings featuring a bald Billy Collins and his calm, almost nonchalant voice that really shows off the humor in his poems. It isn’t hard to get the audience riled up, such as with “The Lanyard” (which also makes a great Mother’s Day poem considering it’s coming up in just a few days!) and “Litany,” which pokes fun at a love poem by copying its first two lines as a starting point for his.

Fan-made videos to his poems have also been popping up, one of my favorites being “The Dead” from his book “Sailing Alone Around the Room,” a more spiritual poem that begins with “The dead are always looking down on us, they say, / while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich.” Another favorite, simply called “Forgetfulness,” details the experience of memory loss.

The author of ten books of poetry (including two that are out of print) and a couple audio recordings such as the 34-poem collection “The Best Cigarette” (all you smokers, read the title poem here or watch a video of it here), Billy Collins is one of the most successful and best selling poets today. About poetry, he has said, “I think more people should be reading it, but maybe fewer people should be writing it, … there’s an abundance of unreadable poetry out there.” However, reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing, so pick up a few of his books and get some awesome poems written. For more information about the literary lion from New York, check out billycollins.net.

Recommended reading:
Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems
The Apple That Astonished Paris
The Art of Drowning

William Soule is a young poet currently living in Utah. His works have appeared in Read This Magazine, elimae, Tattoo Highway, and the delinquent, among others — he is also a former ONS Featured Poet. He runs the webzine Clearfield Review, and works as a Literature Gallery Director for artist-networking site deviantART. Besides writing poetry, William also plays the drums and is a health food nut. He raises a two year old pit bull named Bronē, offers everyone online cookies, and comments on people’s faces.

Want to write a ONS guest post? Drop me a line to claire@onenightstanzas.com!

(Photo by BruceTurner

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Guest Post from William Soule: Writers To Read Part 1 — Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Recently, I was really excited to discover that brilliant young poet and former ONS Featured Poet William Soule is writing a series of short articles entitled ‘Writers to Read,’ aimed at helping new and emerging writers to discover new influences. I asked if I could feature the articles here as guest-posts, and Will agreed! So here’s the first installment. Enjoy!

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”

German-born Charles Bukowski is popular among younger poets for his straightforward, unequivocal style of writing. Ironically, he didn’t start writing poetry prolifically until he was 35, after ten years of near-silence following the publication of his short story, Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip, in Story, and his time in the hospital treating an ulcer.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Bukowski often alienated himself from his peers due to the terrible acne that pockmarked his face. Add in the physical abuse from his father and working menial jobs as an adult, such as at the post office, his writing often features the challenges facing those inhabiting skid row, drunkenness, women, and times at the horse track. the suicide kid details his time at bars, starting with “I went to the worst of bars / hoping to get / killed. / but all I could do was to / get drunk / again.”

Another poem entitled Dinosauria, we, found in the documentary “Born Into This”, talks about some of the problems in society (”we are / born like this / into this / into hospitals which are so expensive / that it’s cheaper to die”).

Throughout his writing career, Bukowski stuck with smaller presses; many see him as an underdog in the writing community, although he became well known during his career, even writing screenplays for movies, such as Barfly, a semi-autobiographical film featuring his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, the hard-drinking womanizer, who was also often found in his novels, some of his most popular being “Post Office” (which aptly begins with “It began as a mistake.”), and “Ham on Rye”, a novel that details his troubled youth.

Passing away in 1994 from leukemia, he leaves behind a vast array of novels, short stories, and poetry among numerous articles he has written for publications. To conclude, here is a touching poem entitled Bluebird, a favorite of mine, and a challenge for you writers that Bukowski details well with so you want to be a writer? Do give a listen and a read–and meet up to the challenge of writing. For more information about Charles Bukowski, check out Bukowski.net.

Recommended Reading:
Love Is A Dog From Hell (poetry)
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (poetry)
Post Office (novel)
Ham on Rye (novel)

William Soule is a young poet currently living in Utah. His works have appeared in Read This Magazine, elimae, Tattoo Highway, and the delinquent, among others — he is also a former ONS Featured Poet. He runs the webzine Clearfield Review, and works as a Literature Gallery Director for artist-networking site deviantART. Besides writing poetry, William also plays the drums and is a health food nut. He raises a two year old pit bull named Bronē, offers everyone online cookies, and comments on people’s faces.

I’d also like to recommend checking out Bukowski’s Nirvana, as read by Tom Waits… and the movie Factotum, which is based on his life.
‘Writers to Read’ will be back soon… Part 3 will be written by yours truly, so watch this space!

Want to write an ONS guest-post? Drop me a line to claire@onenightstanzas.com!

(Image by MATT MIMS)

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Guest post by Mairi Sharratt: Writers and depression

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

While I was taking my brief hiatus from ONS, I received a lovely email from poet Mairi Sharratt, asking if there was anything she could do to help. We chatted a little bit about depression, and how writers seem to be particularly prone to it… and I asked Mairi if she might like to write a guest post on the topic. She got straight to work and came up with this. I think it’s short, sweet and brilliant. See what you reckon:

While Claire took a well earned break she foolishly allowed me free reign to write something at One Night Stanzas. There is always a wealth of subjects to choose from when writing about poetry and I have decided to focus on an all too familiar topic to us all, the unique form of depression that is writer’s block.

Although writing is a solitary pursuit the one thing we will all have in common is at some point in our career we will develop writer’s block. None of us are alone with this problem and frustratingly, for an occupation that prizes originality and leads to self criticism, others writer’s block will always have been bigger, longer and deeper. Henry Roth is reported to have suffered for sixty years, so beat that.

Scientific research suggests that writers suffer from depression disproportionately, compared to the rest of the population. However, we could also conclude that people with a tendency to depression, are more likely to be drawn to writing. It does not take much delving into the “sensitive soul of the artist” theory for it to be debunked. Take a look at the romantic poets. To the uninitiated, a bunch of long haired, sensitive nancy boys. But their drinking, experimenting with drugs and sexual liberation would just be far too much effort to most poets I know, let alone Daily Mail readers!

Dorothea Brande, in her classic — and hard to get hold of — Becoming a Writer, explains writer’s block in much more realistic terms. She describes the writer’s brain as having two sides: one side creative, one side critical. Let your creative side have too much freedom and your poems will not become art, but merely cathartic outpourings which do not respect the readers time. Let your critical side have the same freedom and you will stifle your talent under an avalanche of negativity. To Brande, being a writer is about constantly balancing and rebalancing these different sides of yourself.

You can subscribe to these different theories as you wish, but we also need to acknowledge another factor; life. Whether we are writers or not, we all experience events which can lead to depressions. We experience bereavement; we lose jobs, lovers, friends, health and youth. These experiences don’t make us stronger people – just people, and isn’t that what being a writer is about?

(For more entertaining Writers Bloc check out this collective based at Big Red Door, Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh!)

Mairi Sharratt is a 30 year old poet, who gew up on the Black Isle and now lives in Edinburgh with her husband and young daughter. She works part time in Public Affairs and Public Relations. In a former life she was a performance poet and reached the dizzying heights of performing at the Glastonbury festival. She has since retired from the performance poetry scene and now concentrates on page poetry - so far, with very little success.

Thanks Mairi! What are your thoughts on the topic? Would YOU like to write a guest-post for ONS? If so, drop me a line to claire@onenightstanzas.com, or mention it in the comment box!

(Photo by Compound Eye)

Don’t forget to visit the One Night Stanzas store & The Read This Store!

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