I’ve Got a Stack Thiiiiiiis Big

16 Dec

My writing desk

I’m doing it. I’m finally, really, truly going to get my manuscript together and attempt to publish it. Of course, this works differently in the poetry world than, say, the fiction world. There’s some money in fiction, mostly thrown at the big muckity-mucks, the Dan Browns, Patricia Cornwells and Stephanie Meyerses of the Bestseller Lists, and maybe a teeny, tiny, grain-of-sand-sized bit for the major players in the po’ biz (as those in the know ironically call it). But for those of us unknowns and virtual unknowns, it’s pocket change, amounting to what my Upper East Side neighbors spend a month (maybe even a week) on their nannies.

There’s just not enough of an audience. There are no blockbusters. No one’s looking to cast the heroine in Cecilia Woloch’s excellent new book Carpathia. (Although with that title, don’t you kind of wish they were?)

So it’s a labor of love and perseverance. The desire to share your meticulously crafted and recrafted words with a larger world than your mom, your boyfriend and your best writer friends.

As with any endeavor that incorporates much difficulty with little tangible reward, there are rules. Contests that the aspiring poet must enter (at $20 or $25 a pop), all for the honor of maybe, possibly, slim-chance-d-ly getting your work in front of the actual, celebrity (in the poetry world – we’re not talking Leonardo Dicaprio) judge. For the happy handful, there are $2,000 honorariums, a small printing of 50 or 500, and maybe a featured reading or book tour if you’re really lucky.

(On a side note, Kelli Russell Agodon has an excellent writer’s blog, in which she details, in somewhat horrifying detail, how many times she had to submit her first book manuscript before, trumpet of angels!, finally being accepted and published. You can read about her travails here: http://ofkells.blogspot.com/2009/10/history-of-manuscript.html.)

A few contest deadlines are looming, as I’ve been excellently reminded by a friend, so I’m dusting off my thesis, culling poems, working on new ones, and will, god help us, become a thoroughly distracted, myopically focused lover, friend, volunteer worker for the next several weeks, a slave to Getting This Done.

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

Rock on, people.

– Jho


2 Responses to “I’ve Got a Stack Thiiiiiiis Big”

  1. Yousei Hime December 20, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    Very best wishes. If you need a break, stop by my blog. I write haiku primarily, so your visit wouldn’t take up much time. 😉

  2. jhointhecity December 21, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    Thanks very much. Best of luck in your writing too!

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