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Please, miss, my brain is full

The submissions month continues. My brain is now full. I've read a lot of poetry and sent back a lot of comments.

The submissions month continues. My brain is now full. I've read a lot of poetry and sent back a lot of comments.

At the same time, many new HappenStance subscribers have arrived, which is marvellous. Perhaps it's because I've stopped being backward in coming forward. Now I just say (especially to people sending submissions) 'Please subscribe'. It doesn't cost much and it builds the readership. And it's the easiest way to find out how things work here.

I was worried the Michael Marks Award would mean loads of submissions and no sales. I was wrong. It increased sales slightly but made little difference to submissions. All the packets coming in are interesting; some are good (more than I can publish). The strongest have an impressive track record in magazine publication, across the UK (not just in Scotland or Wales), as well as online. There are hidden secrets, of course, in terms of which publications bring most kudos. It's fair to assume, though, that the harder it is to get poems accepted in any one outlet, the more impressive it is when it happens.

Some poets spend ten (or more) years on style and method, placing things gradually more successfully in the best magazines. Others have work published here and there (lots on line) and think they're ready for a pamphlet collection. It all depends what's meant by 'ready'. By and large, the second lot are nowhere near as good as the first, though they may be original in unpredictable ways.

Not everybody has a decade to work at it. Increasingly, people are coming to poetry late and with a sense of urgency. That's understandable too. But poems have their own kind of time.  They won't be rushed. Only a handful will survive  anyway. In some ways, publication is the least of it. The maturing poem (like good wine), and the privilege of making one, is the magical thing.

Meanwhile, huge effort going on in the background getting the next set of Sphinx reviews together. The website (thanks to Michael Marks) is about to get a radical overhaul. And another wee project is in hand too, involving some silliness and fun. More on that anon.

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Opening and closing
Here's looking at you, Kudo


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Friday, 24 March 2023