(Otherwise titled: YAY!!!!)
I have mentioned before I started writing poetry at age 14. I never took a poetry class in school or studied how to write poems, or even checked out the Poetry for Dummies book. Okay, I actually did check that book out (once) but I never got around to reading it. The point is, I considered my education on poetry to be just simply loving it. I read and enjoyed the works of so many. Maya Angelou was always my favorite poet. But there are so many more- Rita Dove, Mary Oliver, Francis Euclide, Shakespeare, Jewel, and other song-writers. My favorite poem ever is “Evolution” by Langdon Smith, which you can read here.
But I don’t mean that to come out as I think I’m beyond formal education. I love school, and miss taking classes, and learning and broadening my mind. I simply mean it never occurred to me (somehow) to study poetry. Poetry to me came as fluidly and as naturally as breathing. I turned to it during every heartbreak, every sadness, every joy. It wasn’t anything I second-guessed.
And then I began submitting.
And I found out I wasn’t all that great at it, apparently.
You see, although as a writer, I certainly know the difference between metaphors and similes and use imagery in my fiction, it was lacking in my poetry. And it still is. I naturally tend to be a poet who creates more literal works. You can generally, as a stranger, read a poem of mine and figure out what it means. Sure, sometimes I use “light” to symbolize “happiness” or compare my grandmother’s fertility to that of a ripe fruit, but most of the time, I say what I mean and I mean what I say. And that’s not smart poetry, and it’s not all that popular with magazines and journals. And maybe that means I’m no good. But…
During all my rejections of poetry submissions, there’d inevitably be some encouragement. I got close a couple of times, with a couple different blogs or journals. I received such lovely, positive rejections such as:
“Beautiful and poignant”
“Very reminiscent of the writings of Adrienne Rich” (great compliment, btw)
“Appreciate the tenderness at the root of each poem”
Of course those were all followed with the bad b word. BUT.
Dig deeper. Explore more. Push. MORE MOTHERFUCKING METAPHORS, please.
However, I have finally gotten an acceptance from the wonderful site Literary Mama. They will publish my poem “The Game of Life” come October, for their “Desiring Motherhood” issue. For those of you that don’t know, October is also National Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
I am excited and flattered to be included. And I’m proud for getting acceptance on a poem I had rejected enough prior. Now, I am continuing to work on my older poems, to polish them, to overhaul them, to hack away at the weak spots and make them into something both recognizable and fresh. I do want to dig deeper. To push myself. But I will always probably write a little too simply for most of the journals. And that’s okay. What I care about most is reaching the everyday person. Making someone who hasn’t studied poetry for years, care about my words. Cry. Laugh. Scream. Feel something. And of course, I write it for me.