Rough Guide to Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals (by Email)
First thing you need is your poems, naturally; these must be fully redrafted to your satisfaction to have much of a chance of getting anywhere in the world of self-respecting mags. Try out some workshops (there are a tonne on the internet, and plenty in the real world too), ask your friends, but most of all just mull them over for yourself until you're happy.
Do not pad your submission with bad poems, thinking the worse ones might get through thanks to your stronger work. This will just result in the whole bunch being rejected, in all probability.
Next we need to scope out a
"Concrete poetry is poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem..." ~Wikipedia
Visual poetry, also known as concrete poetry, is fun to write because you have colors, textures, and words all at your power to manipulate. You've probably seen visual poetry before, where a poem is written in the shape of what it describes, like "Pyramids":
of hope through
the heat, that simple
materials in simple shapes
can stand as skyscrapers fall.
It's a start, but as a visual poet you've got
Keats, in his Sleep and Poetry, enumerates the aspects of a rather intriguing fancy of his. If, for ten years, he could overwhelm himself in poesy, he would make a certain set of ventures into a set of symbolic worlds; the first of these locales ‘seen in long perspective’ being the realms of Flora (the Roman goddess of the vegetative) and Old Pan (a player of piping music). Here we see exhibited a bona fide paradise, complete with near enough to all the archetypal pleasures conjured within man as paradisiac. Upon first inclination, the paradisiac ensorcels young John, but before long this fruitful setting comes to its own fruition a
The Fashioned Crown: Heroicism and Realism in Henry V
An analysis of Act III, Scenes 0-2
Shakespeare's history play Henry V has been criticised widely for being a play whose propagandist nature has compromised the consistency of character and action: 'what [Shakespeare] produced was a propaganda-play on National Unity: heavily orchestrated for the brass.' These criticisms are reliant on mimetic assumptions: 'in the characters and plot construction alike, one must strive for that which is either necessary or probable.' These inconsistencies are certainly observable, but Shakespeare is famous for confounding tradition, and mimetic tradition
A word about haiku
I believe there are a few basic precepts about haiku that are largely overlooked, or just flat out just not taught in most basic literary (poetic) courses. Everyone seems to know that a haiku is suppose to be written in the structure of 5-7-5 syllables per line respectively, but there is much more going on than just a simple syllable constraint. I shall attempt to give a brief overview of the main points about haiku.
First off, the 5-7-5 syllable structure most often cited as being the sole 'structural rule' of haiku is based on the original Japanese constraint. However, the Japanese language and more specifically their w
An Inspective Look At William Wordsworth's
The World Is Too Much With Us
Upon the initial reading of Wordsworth's The World Is Too Much With Us one might, as I have, make recall to the colored tradition of the pastoral elegy. It would be foolish to purport that there is a succinct stylistic correlation between the piece and this mode, or that the piece is comparable to the various exemplars of that mode, such as the exalting reverie of Milton's Lycidas or the impassioned outpour of Shelley's Adonais, but the specific relation springs more directly from the fact of the poem's ultimate aim
Linguistic Nationalism: Milton's Lycidas
'Lycidas' (p. 516), written in 1637 on occasion of the death of Edward King, is by Milton's own affirmation a monody, but the poem is nevertheless a site of much alternation of tone and landscape. These shifts reflect 'the two worlds of the poem: of innocence and of experience.' The world where flowers may 'strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies' (p. 519) is constantly in opposition with, and is invaded by, the one that admits 'the remorseless deep / Closed o'er the head' (p. 517) of Lycidas. Milton does not 'admit the traditional extravagance of proclaiming that the young man's death caused natur
Since the relationship between language and external reality had become so unreliable, Modernist writers sought to re-locate reality in language itself.
In regards to this "external reality", modernist writers produced two types of work: affected and effective. The Russian Formalists, Shklovsky notably, begin not only this idea of defamiliarization (ostraneniye, "making it new") that is at the heart of so much writing of the period, but also the privileging of language as a site for this relocation of reality: "Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important". Thus discourse rises over plot; plausibili
'A poem should not mean, but be.' (Wimsatt and Beardsley, after Macleish) What relation does this idea have to theories of literary form?
The quotation from Ars Poetica 'a poem should not mean but be' is one, in this instance, taken up by objective criticism as an argumentative focal point for its exponents. The citing of this extract from the poem occurs in 'The Intentional Fallacy', the first in a set of two essays by Wimsatt and Beardsley. This essay seeks to strip away any claimed validity of authorial purpose in criticism: 'A poem can be only through its meaning—since its medium is words—yet it is, simply is, in the sense that we have n
Modernist Remnants: John Burnside's Annunciation with Zero Point Field
Much of John Burnside's work deals with belonging and, as follows, alienation: 'Hand in hand with this impulse for home comes "the dread of belonging"'. His poem Annunciation with Zero Point Field is no exception. Here an angel becomes the vessel in which the poem's various symbols clash and mingle, in itself becoming a symbol for this shared space. By unravelling those threads of symbolism the angel embodies, the poem's themes can be revealed and properly examined. Much of modernist writing concentrates, or at least meditates, on the impossibility of connecting with a
Show and Tell
The idea behind what constitutes 'telling' is probably the most often confused by critics who are new to poetry.
The general notion of it has been around for centuries in all types of literature, but the approach to it was tightened considerably in the 1920s by those of the Modernist school of thought – most notably TE Hulme, HD and Ezra Pound who adapted many tenets of the French school of Symbolism into Imagism.
This leaves us with the current poetic climate, which shuns the idea of a pseudo-poet narrator (as favoured in lyrical poetry – Shelley's Ode to the West Wind, for example) in favour of less intrusive accounts.
Abstract, abstraction and so on are words thrown around all the time in poetry, and often without much solid – or at least congruent – meaning.
An abstraction is literally a 'taking-away' from something, a vaguer look at a solid concept. For example, we could say that 'animal' is an abstraction from 'cow', or that 'person' is an abstraction from 'telephone repairman'.
An abstraction may also be an abstract noun, though, such as 'love', 'peace', 'death', 'fortune', etc.
Or it may be an abstract verb, such as 'eat' or 'move' or 'take'. More concrete verbs might be 'chew', 'walk' and 'grab', or might entail phrases such as 'eat w
The Book of Blood by Vicki Feaver
This time I'm doing a short review on Feaver's new collection published by Cape Poetry (a division of Random House). I heard of her first through the Guardian: she's running this month's workshop, which is about nature poetry. She seems to be a big fan of Hughes, and I dare say would suggest a link between her own work and his animal poems. The comparison is an interesting one. Hughes' nature work reflects back on human qualities almost as a last-minute thought. He does not force any comparisons between mankind and whatever thing he's looking at. His poem Pike for example is a straight account of the pike: i
Dunn is unfortunately quite unknown outside of the UK. His first collection, Terry Street (1969), deals more or less exclusively with observations of his home and immediate surroundings. The poems are typical first collection stuff: an emerging voice, pointed observations and imagery, and a couple attempts at fixed form. The portraiture in his poems is striking and not without empathy, though not drowned out by irritating 'humane sensitivity' which seems to strike at the heart of quite a few (slightly obnoxious) starting poets. Also typical of first collections, however, is the lack of point behind many of the poems. They are v
Hughes has been described as various things at various times during and after his career. Poet Laureate, 'murderer', shaman, 'nature poet,' he is a figure of much controversy, particularly in relation to the suicide of Sylvia Plath, which saw him cast as responsible for her death. I think she was a nut-case, regardless of Hughes' callousness, but I'm not going to go into that here. Because of this widely publicised tragedy, Hughes became very unpopular more or less overnight, with many feeling shamed to admit their admiration for his work. It didn't start or end that way, though.
When Hawk in the Rain was published back in 1957 i
Eliot's use of language in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is a literary and, as this essay will explore, linguistic attempt to represent the impotence and inaction of its imagined speaker, Prufrock, through a dramatic monologue, the style of which has been adopted through Eliot's study of the work of Laforgue and Browning.
A decline in both the poem's language and imagery is visible, beginning notably with the transition from the evening sky to the floors of 'sawdust restaurants.' This is mirrored adjectivally simultaneously:
"Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Satan in Paradise Lost.
Satan's character is as complex as the universe around him, and just as multi-faceted as the role he plays in Paradise Lost itself. For the first three books Satan is represented often as a heroic figure, and this is achieved most notably through his speeches directed at his minions:
"And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd
That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd"
Satan plays on the theme of defiance and rebellion to imbue the fallen angels' efforts with a sense of bravado and adventure. This is emphasised here through th
The new perspective found by narrator through his journey in Sailing to Byzantium
Yeats' poem Sailing to Byzantium is one concerned essentially with the journey between two worlds and its effect on the narrator.
The first stanza introduces the narrator's place of departure, the sensual world: "Caught in that sensual music all neglect / Monuments of unaging intellect."1 This place epitomises the transient. It is home to 'those dying generations', and that ephemeral quality is one extended to the birdsong and the 'sensual music' itself. This 'song' represents the art (one may assume it to be poetry) of the sensual world; it is as mortal as t
The effects of 'defamiliarisation' or 'alienation' in Eliot's The Wasteland
The Wasteland, by TS Eliot, employs its fragmented structure and style to present juxtapositions that place its content in a new light. The overarching effect of this is to force the reader to consider objects, and their connecting themes, in such a way as to compare them across the scope of time and culture. There are three factors in the poem that generate and control this defamiliarisation. They are setting, characters and narrative style.
The Burial of the Dead devotes a lot of time to initiating the settings that will re-occur and shift throughout the poem. Th
It has become a dirty word in some poetry circles.
It conjures images of withered, grey-haired men laboriously counting out beats and stresses whilst coughing up phlegm because of all the dust in their cramped and quasi-arcane libraries.
It really isn't all THAT bad, trust me.
So, without getting too 'old-man' technical - What is metre? what is it good for?
And, importantly, how does one use it?
Well, let's see if we can come up with some workable and easily understood answers by the end of this.
#1: What is metre?
Technical Language: The most well known metre, 'Accentual Syllabic Metre' is the rhythmic arrangement of sylla
Poetry Writing Essays
:bulletred:A word about haiku
:bulletred:Show and Tell
:bulletred:A Guide to Learning Metre
:bulletred:Another Exhaustive Metre Guide
Poets and Collection Reviews
:bulletred:Vicki Feaver, The Book of Blood
Essays on Poems (or the odd play)
:bulletred:The Fashioned Crown: Heroicism and Realism in Henry V
:bulletred:An Inspective Look At William Wordsworth's The World Is Too Much With Us
:bulletred: Linguistic Nationalism in Milton's Lycidas
:bulletred:Modernist Remnants in Annunciation with Zero Point Field(Burnsid
You're essay on Abstraction seriously helped me out a lot. I never really knew what was making some of my poems so ineffective and vague. It would be something I just couldn't put my finger on. They were just missing something. At first I thought it might be cliches, but I was going to every effort to avoid them. I'm glad I stopped here. Thanks.