Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: My First Poetry Chapbook Manuscript!

A few print magazines where my poems have found homes.
There came a moment this past weekend–late Saturday afternoon, to be more precise–when I saved a file on my computer and realized: I have a poetry chapbook manuscript here.

It was a pretty nifty moment for me. After attempting to write a few poems as a teenager, I’d pretty much abandoned my poetry practice and become a prose-focused gal. But about five years ago, I decided to give poetry another go. I enrolled in a number of online classes (taught by Matthew Lippman and Sage Cohen), and began incorporating more poetry into my reading practice, too.

Over these past few years, I’ve been encouraged by some positive feedback from poetry editors, and some deeply meaningful poetry publications. It’s been slow-going, however, and I wasn’t sure that I’d ever have a full chapbook (let alone a full collection) completed.

I was motivated to evaluate where my poetry stood by the impending deadline for a chapbook contest. I know that my chances of winning are minuscule. Beyond the possible merit (or lack thereof) of my manuscript, there’s the fact that I’ve already shared the contest guidelines with all of The Practicing Writer‘s readers (and have linked to them again in this post!), thereby doing my part to increase the competition (self-sabotage, anyone?). But this is a rare fee-free chapbook contest, and simply preparing the submission has been a useful learning experience for me. (Next weekend’s project: actually submitting the thing! A bit more proofreading–along with agonizing over sequencing–has to happen first.)

Sure, it’s likely that I’ll need to enter many more competitions before this manuscript becomes a published chapbook. But you know what they say about journeys–each one begins with a single step.

Any of you have experience with preparing poetry chapbooks? Any tips to share?

Monday Markets for Writers

Monday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction).

  • “Flavorwire is thrilled to announce its first-ever short fiction contest. In honor of May’s National Short Story Month, we’re offering a prize of $500 for one outstanding short story.” Deadline is soon: May 17. No entry fee indicated. (h/t @taniahershman)
  • New contest from Cha: An Asian Literary Journal seeks unpublished poems on the theme of “Void.” Cash prizes (payable via Paypal) and publication in the journal. Deadline: September 15, 2013. No entry fee.
  • From Salt Publishing: “Salt is actively seeking novel submissions directly from authors. Please carefully read the guidelines [linked below]. We only wish to receive fiction submissions that meet these criteria….All works must be in English. All works must be aimed at a British market. You do not require an agent to submit to Salt. We prefer works of less than 80,000 words. Please note we are not currently accepting submissions of short stories, poetry or memoirs.”
  • “Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. Launching in Autumn 2013 our outstanding list will feature multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. If you’re an author, Bloomsbury Spark is the premiere place to publish your work.
    Why? Because we are a hands-on, full-service publishing house We will publish you globally but market you locally. We are not just interested in publishing your book; we want to help craft your career. If you have a manuscript between 25 and 60k words long, then send it to us.” (via @Duotrope)
  • Poets & Writers, Inc. (New York) is looking for a Web Editor.
  • Teaching positions in poetry and fiction writing are available at The Putney School Summer Programs in Vermont. (Thanks to my friend Lené Gary for sharing this information.)