Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

My First Poetry Manuscript

Yes, over the decade or so that I’ve been making poetry an increasing part of my writing practice I’ve selected and sequenced small numbers of poems for chapbook contests and application-related purposes. But now I’m facing something slightly different: shaping a full-length collection.

I have a deadline, too, because I need to submit a 50-page manuscript (maximum) no later than thirty days from today. About a month after that, I’ll be taking part in a workshop where that manuscript will be evaluated.

So part of my Memorial Day Weekend was devoted to (finally) diving into this project. I do have a nice selection of articles and similar resources for poets on the subject of structuring and sequencing manuscripts, but I’m always happy to discover more. Please share any you’d care to, in comments.

And While We’re on that Subject

Speaking of the poetry manuscript: Here’s one of the dilemmas I haven’t yet solved. Most of my poems are individual/discrete, but I do have one suite of three poems that I haven’t yet figured out how to deal with. (Do I give them a single, umbrella title to replace their individual ones? Do I adhere to the workshop-prep instructions to include just one poem per page? You know these sorts of questions, right?)

In any case, this suite of poems was on my mine already because the poems are inspired by the book of Ruth, which is traditionally revisited for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. And Shavuot is happening now. (It began last night.) These poems were published last year, but I enjoyed returning to them this week, and you may, too.

My Last Newsletter

Don’t worry—it’s only the last one that I’m doing for Fig Tree Books LLC. It went out last Thursday.

But The Practicing Writer newsletter carries on. In fact, the June issue just went out to subscribers this morning; it will remain online here on my website until the July issue replaces it.)