We now interrupt this program for some poetry talk

You know what sucks about writing poetry is rereading old poems.

I mean, obviously that’s true of literally any writing you do: reading your old writing sucks. Cringe. Did I really write one tear rolling down someone’s cheek? Why are people always so obsessed with their love interests’ hands, and why do all love interests have “the hands of a pianist”? What does that even mean?

But the frustrating thing about poetry is that an old poem can be objectively decent, but I don’t like it anymore: I wrote it when I was a different person, in a different headspace, going through different things.

Maybe this isn’t always the case. It depends on what I’m writing about. Last April, my one poem for National Poetry Writing Month was about the way I lost myself in marriage and found myself again when I got divorced. I still like that one, except for that poet thing where I don’t like it because I’m sure it could be better but just don’t know how.

But, like, I still connect to that poem. Ditto some of the poems I wrote this April and May – poems about losing my grandparents, poems about not feeling terribly grown-up despite the fact that I’m almost thirty. So that brings me to a grand total of Five Poems that are decent and I still connect to them and I like them enough to consider submitting them to lit mags.

I have so many poems, you guys. And out of all those poems, five that I like enough to submit. That’s it. All because my poetry is really personal. All because I’m a different person now than I was when I wrote 95% of my poetry.

So that’s a big ole bummer.

Of course, I seriously stress out about letting anyone read my poetry anyway, which begs the question: why am I even worried about this? Why would I even consider submitting my poems to lit mags?

Letting people read my poetry is like singing solos: I REALLY WANT TO but also NO NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS. But also YES PLEASE??? So I stress out and then eventually give someone a peek and then get all cold and shaky and freaked out because oh my god they’re reading my poem.

But also I really want them to read my poem.

Anyway, all this is to say that I’m taking my Five Poems, braving the gaze of critique buddies, tweaking the poems, revising them, and looking into lit mags that might be interested in publishing them. So if you know a good first-time-submitter lit mag that takes simultaneous submissions and doesn’t charge a reading fee, hit a girl up.

14 thoughts on “We now interrupt this program for some poetry talk

  1. Hi, E.M. I am in awe of poets. Trying to write a poem is a scary prospect for me. I think that many of us, whatever our genre of writing, cringe at our oldest pieces. I had to laugh at “one tear rolling down a cheek” and “hands of a pianist.” Perhaps you could publish one or two on your blog. Beyond that suggestion, I know literally nothing helpful about publishing poetry. I have a blogging bud named Truedessa who publishes a lot of poetry on her blog “True Wanderings.” http://truewanderings.blogspot.com She belongs to an on-line poetry group called “dVerse.” https://dversepoets.com You might be able to track down some information ~ by checking out “dVerse” I haven’t looked into it because I’d rather eat a live tarantula than have to write a poem ~ but that’s me. Happy writing in July!.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll have to look into the blog and the group. I definitely cringe at *all* my old writing like anyone else – I think the cringe over old, technically-good poetry is just a totally different type of cringe. Well…mostly. I definitely have *much* older poetry that I cringe at because it’s just bad and cliched!


  2. Can’t say I’m much of a poet (though I enjoy limericks) and I don’t read much poetry, but I can sure grasp the angst of wanting to be pubbed. Have you considered self-publishing your poetry? There really are a lot of readers who eat up poetry, so self-pubbing could be a start. 🙂

    Nice to meet you, and I wish you the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and it’s nice to meet you too! Honestly, even though I’m mostly interested in commercial publishing for my fantasy, I *have* considered self-publishing for my poetry. But then there’s the marketing angle of self-publishing, and I don’t have a salesperson’s bone in my body.

      Also, I’m broke. But that’s another issue xD

      But! I figure submitting to literary journals is a nice way to start getting poetry out there – not so much an option with my fantasy, since I don’t have anything short and standalone, just novels. I just have to get over this “I don’t feel this way anymore so now I kind of hate this poem even though it’s not technically bad” thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Shalom and happy fourth to you as well! I’ve memorized poems in the past for school – pretty sure I still have at least most of one called “The Unicorn” memorized from about fifteen years ago. I used to write them a lot more frequently, but now it’s dwindled mostly to National Poetry Writing Month!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a published poet though my poems tend to be experimental and odd rather than personal. Which I would imagine is why I can read my oldest poems and usually like them. The few poems with too much personal in them are the ones I don’t care for now that I’m older and, I hope, wiser.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting! Even the poems I write that are a little less personal were just written when I was different, so re-reading them is like smh at my younger self. “Oh, Lil Baby E. Sigh, sigh, sigh.” I’d like to think I’ll feel that way less as I get older and look back on poems from, like, my current age or something, but you never know…


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