Friday, January 15, 2010

Poetry Tips: Requesting a Review

For those of us not lucky enough to have a publicist touting our creative accomplishments there is always the fall back of promoting ourselves. However, as you can imagine, there is a right way and wrong way to do it. As a poet, or a writer, if you are hoping to ask for someone to review your work and post it in a printed publication or on-line then there are certain rules you should follow:

1.) Be familiar with the publication or web-site you are approaching, i.e., do your research. Make sure that the editor or reviewer you are approaching has regular features/reviews of your genre and that their reviews match what you are looking for. I have had poets approach me asking for much more than what I typically provide on my blog and have had to explain that I produce relatively short, concise features rather than in-depth reviews that might be published in a magazine such as Poetry from the Poetry Foundation. Tailor your request and expectations to the publication or web-site you are approaching.

2.) Be humble and polite. When requesting to be reviewed simply include a brief introduction such as your name, the title of your chapbook or book, what your collection of work is about and that you would like to be featured in the publication or web-site. It also doesn’t hurt to explain why you’ve picked this reviewer’s publication or web-site—do you admire the writers they’ve featured in the past? Do you enjoy reading their reviews and hope to be included among them? Compliments and research go a long way to scoring a review. Please wait for a response from the reviewer before placing restraints, recommendations, or links to other reviews you’ve enjoyed hoping that the reviewer will emulate those reviews when they begin to read your work. The more restraints and requests you make the less eager the reviewer will be to accept your request.

3.) If you do not hear anything in return, wait a couple of weeks to follow-up on your request. Include a reminder that you had sent an e-mail or letter a couple of weeks ago and have not heard a response, would the reviewer mind taking a look?

4.) Also, if you are politely declined do not assume that it is because you are not good enough. It may simply be that the reviewer is currently overwhelmed and you can try approaching the reviewer again in another several months to a year.

5.) Once you have been reviewed, please send a thank you note of some sort—e-mail or hand-written. The reviewer took time out of their busy schedule to read your work and review it so be sure to thank them, especially before requesting another review for another collection of work. Also, do not expect the reviewer to automatically say yes to reviewing another collection unless they have specifically indicated they are willing to do so. If you would like another review and have not had an invitation to send more of your writing then you may need to wait three or more months before asking again. Remember, reviewers have quite a few chapbooks/books to review and may want some time before featuring the same poet or writer again to catch up on other requests or to keep their publication/web-site “fresh.”

I hope this advice is helpful, we are all in this together and I wish you all courage and success in asking for reviews and getting your words published and featured.

Please drop by again on Monday for another featured site…

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nerve Cowboy Chapbook Contest

Get your pens and computers in gear, the deadline is January 31st, 2010! You will need a $10 entry fee (address your check to Nerve Cowboy) and submit 24-40 pages of poetry along with a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (make sure you have enough postage to ensure return of your manuscript) and don’t forget to include your contact information.
1st prize winners will receive $200 and 50 copies of their published chapbook
2nd prize winners will receive $100 and 30 copies of their published chapbook

Please send your entry fee and manuscript to:

Nerve Cowboy
PO Box 4973
Austin, TX 78765

Good luck to all of you who enter, please drop in tomorrow for more Poetry Tips…

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poems Found by Poet Hound
“Taken At The Flood” by Richard Epstein
“Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath

Thanks for clicking in, please drop in tomorrow for more Open Submissions…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nerve Cowboy Fall 2009 Issue 28

Nerve Cowboy publishes poems that are gritty, witty, and sometimes downright disturbing. If you recall, I interviewed the editors at Nerve Cowboy a while back and if you’d like to read the interview, please use the link below:

The most recent issue is full of interesting and enlightening poems with which I am delighted to share several with you:

Beauty Mark

Wedged underneath his widow’s-peak,
It’s a brown boulder poised to fall and crush his nose.
It’s a slow-motion bullet to his brain –
An unexploded cancer-bomb – a ship-gutting rock
That juts from a pale, wrinkled sea.

Like Navajos who let Grandmother Spider share their homes,
Does he respect the mole’s right to be
Loathsome? Does he think it lends character
To his hangdog mug? Is he imprisoned by the male mentality
That calls cosmetic concerns pussifeid?

Is the thing a wit? A sorcerer? A seer?
Has he insured it? Set up its college fund?
What gall to gripe, I can’t get laid,
With that turn-off knob shadowing his bed.
“I don’t trust it,” a woman told me. “It looks too well-fed.”

It’s a great conversation piece – when he can’t hear.
(Who’d dare ask, “How’s it hangin’?” when he’s near?)
Sometimes I fear it’s speaking straight to me:
You bedded Pam, and never called.
You let Mom die miserably in a nursing home.

I stay as far away as I can get,
As if it might leap onto my chin and burn,
Or hiss, “I see you when you think you’re most alone” –
As if its small cask holds the secret of grief
To which my heart, that hopeless drunk, always returns.

By: Charles Harper Webb of Glendale, CA

Isn’t this a funny and gruesome poem? Mr. Webb brings the gruesomeness to life with lines such as “a ship-gutting rock/that juts from a pale, wrinkled sea,” “shadowing his bed,” and “I stay as far away as I can get,/As if it might leap onto my chin an burn,” which causes me to protect my own chin from this large and scary mole on another man’s head. What an entertaining poem about a subject that is loathsome for most of us to endure for ourselves and witness in others.

Mark Weber-Type Poem

So my latest rejection comes from Iowa,
about a week before Christmas:
Thank you for allowing us
to consider your work…”
I picture the writer
at a desk overlooking a corn field.
There’s a droopy plant
on the windowsill
and a volume of Yeats or Keats
It has been a tough day,
and here I come,
galloping into that landscape
with my palm trees and deserts,
coyotes and surfers.

By: Dorothea Grossman of Albuquerque, NM

I like this poem because I write and submit poems, too, just like many of you who read this blog. The ending lines are my favorite, “here I come,/galloping into that landscape” as though the writer had the audacity to interrupt the scene of the editor’s desk by brining “palm trees and deserts,/coyotes and surfers” in direct juxtaposition of Iowa cornfields. These lines also hint that the juxtaposition may be what leads to the rejection notice. Either way, as writers we comfort ourselves with any means available in the face of rejection and this poem is demonstrative of this.

6:24 AM

One day I got up
I put on a fresh pot of coffee
And as it began to brew
At 6:24am
I picked up the old New York Times
That I had collected throughout the week to read
And threw them out
I took out a fresh clean sheet of white paper
And wrote a letter
To my old friend
I addressed it to her parent’s house
In Connecticut
She’s married now
Somewhere in Massachusetts
When the coffee was done
I opened up my fridge
I put the milk on the counter
And I threw out all the old Chinese take-out boxes
I threw out the glass container of left over asparagus
Then I poured my coffee and went outside
I lit a fresh cigarette
The ash stood out
As it fell on yellow and red leaves
On my small stone patio

By: Writer Unknown

What a shame that there’s no writer to name! The editors include a note in their introduction that if this writer reads their journal to please give their name and I am asking the same if the writer happens to read this blog. This poem is a lovely snapshot of daily morning ritual and reminiscing. While it is simple it is also endearing as the poet foregoes reading the collected newspapers to write a letter to an old friend instead. I long to hear more of the story—does the married friend write back? Perhaps there will be a sequel to the poem and perhaps it will be accompanied by the writer’s name.

If you enjoyed this sample of poems, you can find more information about Nerve Cowboy with details how to subscribe ($22 for two years, four issues) and submission guidelines, by checking out their site:

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sturgeon's Law Site

Steve Schroeder is a poet who provides news on poetry, poets, and general news and goings-on in his life. I found it kept my attention and kept me scrolling downward for more, so please check his site out at:

Thanks for dropping in, please stop in tomorrow for a featured poetry journal…