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January, 2008


What Am I Doing Wrong?
Four fixers
By  Stan Grimes

Pouting over rejection is not useful, but these four tips may help get you published.
Having any kind of literary creation rejected by a publisher can be disheartening. Even though they say it's nothing personal, it sure feels that way, doesn’t it? You’ve poured your heart into a work of art and it’s rejected in a heartbeat. So what must you do to get your poetry published?

Let's look at four possible reasons for rejection and how to overcome them:

1.  Wrong market – This is a big one, because you simply must know the market you're submitting to. Don't send your love poem to a wildlife magazine. Don't send your poem about a pretty cat to a dog magazine. How do you find a matching market for your poem? Read. It's as simple as that. If you're attempting to publish on the Internet, find some e-magazines and read the poems they are publishing. If you want to publish in a mainstream magazine, buy one at your local bookstore and take a gander at what's being accepted. Don't want to buy a bunch of magazines? Buy a 2007 Writer's Market Book and you will be introduced to hundreds of markets. Or go to some market sites on the Internet such as Predators and Editors, and Fiction Factor.

2.  Structure – Read your poem aloud. Read it several times. Be honest with your writing and discover if it flows well. Or have a friend read your poem aloud. Better yet, have a professional (teacher, professor, or parrot) read it and give you some advice. But one area you must address is how to make a poem flow easier. A big red X will be placed on your poem if you use too many "the's", "and's," and "that’s."  These three words can ruin a fantastic poem by bogging down a flowing river of words. Let's look at an example: 

The love that I hold for you
is the most important thing
that I dream about in the night
the love you feel for me
is the most important thing of all.

Now let's make it sound better, let's make it flow. How about this?

The love I hold for you
is what I dream about
but your love for me
means everything.       

Do you see a difference? My second example flows better. It's easier to read and not as awkward as the first example, and basically no meaning has been lost in the cleaned-up version. When writing, say as much as you can in as little space as possible.

3. Presentation – Read submission guidelines provided by your target market. If a magazine's guidelines stipulate double-spaced poetry, do it. If guidelines tell you not to centre your poem, don't. Remember, first impressions count. Follow the guidelines and you’ll be surprised at your results.

4. Preaching – Unless you’re writing a poem to your church congregation, do not expound on the gospel of St. Whomever. Long-winded sermon-poetry will be passed over by most publishers. Instead, try expressing feelings about God and Nature with only a few words. In fact, a brief spiritual poem can be enticing and extremely thought provoking. Try it.

Poetry is a fine art. Each poem is a miracle and you are its creator. Read your miracle and think about it. Miracles can always use a little dusting off, and maybe some lip-gloss. Run your miracle through a car wash. Someone might just see a nice new miracle to put into print.
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Stan Grimes is a graduate from Indiana University and works in the real world as a social worker. He has written a number of articles for the American Chronicle and, has numerous poems and short stories published in various anthologies and on his website at AuthorsDen and has three science fiction/suspense thriller novels out. His latest, Deacon, can be found at Double Dragon Publishing Inc.

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
The Long Life Of Poetry
Marketplaces For Your Poetry
Haiku: Highest Art
What Am I Doing Wrong?
Lyrically Speaking
Writing Poems
The Mind Of A Poet
A Poem Is A Little Path
Seeing Like A Poet
Speaking In Tongues (Excerpt)

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Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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