Friday, December 10, 2010

Poetry Tips: Cover Letters

To be honest, I’m not fond of trying to come up with cover letters when sending out poems and for those of you who are nervous, here are some things you can do. Format your cover letter the way you would for a job application. You’ll want to provide your contact information, details about what you have published or at least what poems are enclosed. Thank the editor for their time and end it just as you would a cover letter for a potential job.
For those of you out there who have done many cover letters, any suggestions in the comments section for myself and readers would be greatly appreciated!

I wish you all success as you send out poems and cover letters, please drop in again Monday…

Thursday, December 9, 2010

34th Parallel Open Submissions

They are open year-round but choose carefully as you may only send one poem via e-mail as a Microsoft Word or .rtf attachment. You will also need to include a cover letter and while they accept simultaneous submissions be sure to notify them if your poem is accepted elsewhere. Send your poem and cover letter to the poetry editor at:

Check out more details at:

Good luck to all who submit, please stop in tomorrow for more Poetry Tips…

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Poems Found by Poet Hound
“Dawn Dreams” by Rachel Hadas
“Problems of Translation: Problems of Language” by June Jordan

Thanks for clicking in, please drop in tomorrow for more open submissions…

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spare Change Poetry by Ed Galing

Ed Galing sent me a collection of poems that he allowed Spare Change to publish in 2001. Spare Change is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and provides a means of employment for the homeless in the area. The local homeless sell copies of the Spare Change newspaper for $1.00 on the streets. The press itself is based out of Old Cambridge Baptist Church according to Wikipedia. I will include links at the end for you to learn more about this press because it certainly piqued my interest when Mr. Galing wrote me a letter about it while including this chapbook collection of poems.

The poems inside this collection by Ed Galing describe the hardships of growing up in poverty and then growing old in poverty. As always, Mr. Galing is straightforward and illuminating. Below I am happy to share these poems with you:

Look At Me

Look at me,
Remember me?
I laid down
In the middle
Of the street

Last week
And police
Trampled me
With their horses feet,

While I protested,
And protested

In a land of
Freedom of speech,

And democracy.

They finally
Dragged me and
Threw me into
The police wagon

And took me to
Jail for disorderly
Conduct protesting
Poverty and homelessness,

And it was then
That I took my
Good conduct medal
The army had
Given me,

And threw it in the trash can.

The ending of the poem produces the dramatic impact that is unfortunately necessary these days to bring home the message that we tend to ignore in the news: That free speech isn’t always “free speech” and that the good causes we stand up for are often trampled and mislabeled as “disorderly conduct” because heaven forbid anyone brings the real issues into the light of day. Ed delivers the impact of the absurd treatment of the protestor fighting for others in his home country, his home town, into sharp focus in this poem by throwing away the hard-earned Army Medal for Good Conduct.

Bitter Roots
i never sold apples
during the depression

on this new york
street that i passed by

each day, you would find
them, men with wooden
crates, upon which the

apples rested, and below
the scrawled sign,
“buy an apple and help me…
five cents…”

the men were always so
sad looking and old before
their time, defeated by an

enemy over whom they had no

millions unemployed and out
of work, and i too, was
one of them,

existing on a welfare check
of twenty dollars a week,

living in a cold water flat
alone, and broke…
and often i would shiver in
the cold air, stop, and buy
a sweet apple, munching it
on the way home to nothing,

thinking, it could be me,
it could be me…

and from then on,
even until these days,

an apple has never tasted
the same again.

Times are hard now and I like sharing poems that echo hard times of the past. In this one, Ed shares his days of living on welfare and thinking of the apple sellers as he munches on their wares where it becomes a symbol for him of the hard times he has left behind. As a result, he shares that apples have never tasted the same since. I hope all of us can keep going and make it through these current hard times just as Ed Galing has.

Street Musician

My father was never
Isaac Stern

the famous violinist

but he learned to play
the violin by ear

and would go out
on the street

and play simple

and people would
open up their

and toss coins
out to him wrapped
in tissue paper

my father was the
original street musician

playing for everyone.

He was the Pied Piper
of the lower east side.

and he did a creditable
job of creating music
in the midst of squalor

sometimes he even
came home with a
dollar or two

but his devotion
was worth

I find this poem a wonderful sentimental memory to ponder. The fact that people took the time and care to wrap their coins in tissue paper before tossing them to the musician captures my attention and my imagination, as though they are small gifts raining from the sky. Indeed, the musician most likely saw these wrapped coins as precious gifts and his family benefitted from them. Equally precious is Mr. Galing’s father’s devotion to learning to play well despite the small financial rewards and therefore makes the case that the devotion and care to playing well is worth millions. Mr. Galing has the ability to create vivid pictures in fairly sparse details with his lines and I admire him for it.

Blood Bank Days

i just had about enough
money to make the blood bank
in center of town
that day…
I was broke and hungry..
the center city blood bank
was commercial…
they paid you six bucks
for a pint of blood,
and sold it to others for
many times over, the bastards,
but that was it for me,
and i was too ashamed to beg…
trolley dropped me off on the corner,
and i walked in, to a room full
of down and outers like myself;
all ages, all sexes; all colors;
one thing we all had in common,
we were all there for the same reason.
nurse pricked my finger, dropped
the blood into a bottle, and it showed
i had enough iron in me to go ahead;
few minutes later i am layin
there in the cot,
nurse smiles and jams needle into
my arm, and hangs up bottle, and tells
me to keep squeezing…
i lay there, lookin at the bottle
slowly fillin up with my blood,
my hand pumpin in and out,
and i feel rotten, and dirty, and
but keep thinking of that six
bucks, and the donut i will soon get
with the coffee,
and enough money to ride home.

This poem struck me because I am so used to seeing the Blood Donor vans and think about how many people volunteer their blood to save others and then here is a poem about people who are barely scraping by giving their lifeblood to continue living while at the same time saving lives. It’s quite a revelation when you think about it. A new take on giving blood not only to save someone else but to save yourself from going hungry another day.

homeless poem

when a homeless man
writes a poem

you can bet
he won’t
do it with
just mere

he will use
the blood
that dripped
from his skull

the day the
cop hit him
over the head
with his billy

for no reason
except he was taking
up space in
the bus terminal

and refused to

he will write
his poem

as he stand
on corners

it won’t be a
pretty poem

I feel this is the appropriate poem to end with as the collection was sold by homeless men on the streets and these are poems written by a man who has lived through hard times and can speak for those living in hardship using his own first-hand knowledge. As Mr. Galing says, the homeless man’s poem will not be a “pretty poem.”

Imagine all of the poems we read on-line or in books, in journals, and then think of the poets who we rarely hear from: the poor, the homeless, the severely ill. These are not pretty poems and this feature is not a pretty feature. Just the same, I hope you found them worth reading and I hope you will learn more about this press who helps the homeless.

For the Wikipedia link to learn more about the history of Spare Change and how they work with the homeless please use this link:

To read an interview with a former editor of Spare Change who was no stranger to drugs and life on the streets, see Doug Holder’s interview with Spare Change’s editor Marc Goldfinger at:

To learn about Spare Change’s expansion from an article published in September of this year, please go to:

To learn more about Ed Galing, please visit his blog at:

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

Monday, December 6, 2010

Propaganda Press

I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Don’t forget to include poetry for gifts for Christmas this year! Alternating Current’s catalog at Propaganda Press includes many wonderful choices and features poets that have appeared on Poet Hound such as: Ed Galing, Hosho McCreesh, Justin Barrett, Christopher Cunningham, Leah Angstman, Julian Gallo, David Pointer, and countless more.

Take a peek and order at:

Thanks for clicking in, please drop in tomorrow for another featured poet…