Got poems? Submit!

Literary Mama’s Poetry department is once again accepting submissions!

After a February in which we caught up, we are now ready to read poems from March 1 to June 1. Our submission guidelines give an idea of what we’re looking for. In a nutshell:

We publish poetry that has some element of the unexpected–whether it’s the language, the imagery, or the emotion—yet feels honest. Do you have a poem that acknowledges the intensity of motherhood?

A few years ago, our former poetry editor, Sharon Kraus, and I posted some information about our process, which has changed a bit. We no longer put together theme-based issues (other than Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Desiring Motherhood in October). Now, both Erin (our editorial assistant) and I read every poem, striving to respond to poets within three months. But in terms of what we look for, and how we publish, the basics are the same.

In the second part of the interview with Sharon and me, we discussed writing and revising tips. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for revitalizing a poem that seems stuck:

A few revision tricks for poems:

  • Break it into couplets, triplets, quatrains
  • Rearrange stanzas randomly
  • Turn it upside-down: rewrite the poem with the last line first, first line last
  • Remove all adjectives and adverbs
  • Add back the adjectives and adverbs, but describing different words
  • Replace all -ing words and all forms of “to be” (is, are, am, being, be)
  • Examine your adjectives. If you’re using “tiny” to describe an infant, your unconscious is doing you a favor: look harder, look more closely. Underneath that word is the thing you really mean to name.
  • Free associate around the parts you do like and go back to the drawing board

Can’t wait to see what you come up with! And remember, if you get a rejection, revise and resubmit!