what's the deal with publishing poetry?

I know I tend to get ahead of myself sometimes, cart before horse and all that jazz.

This is definitely one of those times.


What are the rules around publishing poetry and prose on a blog? Sometimes, when you enter a contest or submit a piece to a magazine the regulations state it must be unpublished material. Does my blog count as a something?

According to the CBC Literary Awards it does.

Uggh. So that means that I can't post my poems on here if I want to submit them to something like the CBC LAs. Of course that's just one contest, but such regulations are of concern to me.

Why? Let's introspect, shall we.

Reason 1 - Up until now my creative output has been an inconsequential, unenviable mess, so when I actually do finish something it takes on far more significance than it should. Each finished piece is a symbol, something to signify ALL the potential I'm convinced rattles around in my brain.

Reason 2 - Stemming from 1, if I consider each finished piece a master-work I'm instantly convinced of its dearness and value. Something of great worth of course needs to be cherished and only launched into the world at an appropriate moment, an instant where all eyes are watching and all mouths are ready to shout its praises.

Those moments don't come around too often. In fact, if one thought for about three seconds they would realize that such convoluted logic sound more like excuse making. A way to avoid ever finding out if what I'm doing is actually good, and so...

Reason 3 - This reason is a bit of a mess, bear with me, but we can generally say the third reason I am writing this inane post is confidence.

a - As mentioned above, if I talk about publishing something or submitting something it takes attention away from the act of publishing or submitting (or the lack of action) and my untalented deceit is never revealed!

b - Stemming from 2 is another facet of confidence; FEAR! On some level I'm afraid that I won't be able to rally my creative forces ever again. This one can be overcome, simply by doing something. Then doing something new. Then following that second something with another, and a fourth, and a thirty-second (after a 29th) and so on.

To be a creative individual you need to create all the time. Do, do, do, do and do. Not think, suggest and maybe next week. Take artistry seriously. As Canadian poet David W. McFadden ( a fella I've mentioned before) said, "From Grade 11 till now I've been writing poems every day, or thinking about it a lot on the occasional day I'd miss. To me an artist had to work every day, it had to be his entire life, or he was a fake."

A fake eh? Sounds familiar. So all I need to do is write a poem a day for the next 40 years? Well, maybe I should just take the meaning of his words and apply them personally.

And reason number...I don't even know. Am I onto italicized sub-sub-headings by this stage? My next point doesn't necessarily follow from the others, I just want to include it somehow, so...

Reason 3bi - I've mentioned this before, but thinking in terms of a best sellers and smash hits is wrong-headed. Chasing the latest trend and not being true to personal creative instincts results in shallow, unformed pieces. Mere shadows of what other original people were doing weeks, months and years before.

Stick with what you love and find hilarious, however, and at the end of the day you get something that you at least find enjoyable. If it finds fans in other like-minded souls that's great, but if it doesn't, who cares?

And so I struggle. Wanting to create something that receives recognition, worrying that personal notions of grandeur might be pin-pricked and deflated (not necessarily a bad thing), and simply wanting to create and push things out there regardless of the venue. Maybe even get to a point where I'm comfortable enough with myself that I know there will be other poems after this one and that I'll have another short story idea.

And I think I'm getting there, becoming more willing to release things into the world. Able to set aside all the above mentioned concerns. And if it does turn out I have created the greatest thing ever I'm sure it will take care of itself.

What set all this off?

I'm working on a poem entitled my bedroom floor on a Wednesday just after 8 in the evening (or sweat as communication). With a name like that how can it NOT be the greatest thing ever?

I was actually thinking about not posting it on here, but after writing everything I've just written I don't think that's possible.

Now you all have something to look forward to!

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