Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Much-Needed Submitter-Contributor Appreciation Post

Dear people who cross the digital expanse and pray their submitted work gets in,

You are the champions of the literary world. If you do not view yourself as “equal to” or “greater” than the literary magazines you support, then you are looking at this culture all wrong. What is a magazine without its submitters? What does it really mean to submit?

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Courtesy of The Gap-Toothed Madness, a wonderful presentation of a blurb I wrote

Let’s look at the definitions of “submitting” for a moment:

sub·mit  (sb-mt)

v. sub·mit·tedsub·mit·tingsub·mits

v.tr.

1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.

2. To subject to a condition or process.

3. To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.

4. To offer as a proposition or contention: I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.

 

(Courtesy of http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Submitters)

If applied to writers, the first definition imagines the submitter as a small kingdom who yields to an empire greater than itself. So, by this definition, writers are lesser than and must abandon themselves and their values for what they perceive as the greater good. Of course, by obeying the empire, these writers can bring glory and fame to their name.

That’s a disgusting perspective to have, but we’ll continue.

The second definition is more appropriate, though it seems to waylay the emotional ability writers have and need to submit their work. It is not just a “condition” or “process.” This definition forgets that it’s a love for the work. It’s a respect for the work. Therefore, it’s a love, respect, and need for the writer.

As the fourth definition doesn’t seem truly applicable, the third definition ascends to be our best bet. Writers committing (prose or poetry or artwork or photography) to the consideration or judgment of a magazine. Consideration seems to have a more positive connotation than judgment. Yet, while this is the most salient definition of “submitting” for the writer to bear in mind, the question for all writers to consider is “Does this magazine have the authority to judge my work?”

I will be the first to say that literary magazines do not and should not carry the pomp they brag of. The word “magazine” comes from the French word magasin, which translates to “storehouse.” Does the word translate to “publication that reaps the benefits of its contributors and is more important than them”? No.

Moreover, a storehouse must be filled with goods to function. Without the goods, there would be no storehouse. However, without a storehouse, the goods cannot be distributed. Nonetheless, I believe the ones who share their goods with the world are the better people at the end of the day.

Do I contradict myself by posting a shameless advertisement of Yorick as the picture in this post? No. It’s my job to shamelessly advertise my magazine. It’s a storehouse for crying out loud. How else are Greek citizens going to know to come here for their oil and fleece skeins?

I’ve talked with several individuals in the immediate literary community who are committed to caring for submitters. Jeremiah Walton, of Nostrovia fame, is continuously working to create projects like The Traveling Poet so that writers have more opportunities to be heard. Brittany Wright and Richard Barnhardt at The Gap-Toothed Madness have created a newsletter for their submitters and contributors detailing new ways to submit work. It’s magazines like these that appreciate the writer.

So, submitters: you are not the worthless creatures you believe yourselves to be. You are not the mercenaries who struggle to make a living by providing service to an emperor. You are the artifacts that the acolytes struggle to collect. Some artifacts are undiscovered, some are found and made public.

Whether admitting it or not, the acolyte, a wretch in torn cloth, dreams only of finding the best.

– Alex

 

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Regarding Poetry – Part 3: The Wonderment of Literary Magazines for Children

by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer

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An array of children’s magazines!

Hello hello hello!

About two weeks ago I was in the barbershop waiting for my turn when I decided to take a look at the magazine rack. Lo and behold, the first thing I picked up was a copy of Highlights, which I used to read a lot when I was younger but haven’t looked at in years. As I flipped through the pages and laughed at all the cheesy jokes, I started to wonder if there were other children’s magazines like Highlights, and if there were any way to submit some of my more “youngish” work to them. So, I did my research and found a few that I thought to be not only promising, but interesting to boot.

Cobblestone and Calliope: These two magazines are both designed for kids between ages of 9 and 14, and are also both (primarily) non-fiction magazines. They each focus on something that has to do with history, but each on a different aspect of history. Cobblestone focuses on American History, and Calliope on World History and Cultures. The interesting thing about both of these magazines, though, is that they not only accept non-fiction pieces, but if someone submits a historical fiction piece, and if it is within the word limit, there is a chance the magazine will publish it as well. So it looks like my only shot of getting into either of these is to bulk up on my history.

Ladybug, Spider, Cricket, and Cicada are all what would probably be known as traditional literary magazines because they focus on stories and art catered towards specific age groups. Oh, I forgot to mention this before, but the magazines (in the order listed) each focus on a different age group – 3 to 6 for Ladybug, 6-9 for Spider, 9-14 for Cricket and 14 and older for Cicada. This means that these magazines are quite literally for kids of any age, which is by and far one of the coolest audience angles I have seen in regards to literary magazines. Also, I have few stories written that are kind of “youngish,” so maybe I’ll send them on over.

Crow Toes Quarterly was one that I heard about quite a bit, but my initial search provided nothing but sweet, sweet air. But, after a little more intense digging I hit paydirt! Focusing on dark humor for kids—which is kind of weird to think about, I know—Crow Toes Quarterly had published stories that fit into the horror and thriller categories (as well as other such kinds of stories). While this might not seem that appealing, I sat down and read an issue and have to say it was quite entertaining. I also sadly found out that it is no longer in publication. Yet, I thought it still necessary to give credence to because what the magazine did was absolutely brilliant. I raise my glass to you, Crow Toes Quarterly, and hope you come back soon!

So, those are the ones I found absolutely intriguing. Also, because I was interested in possibly trying to submit some of my more…“youngish”…works to these magazines, I found the submission guidelines for them (see them HERE! http://www.cricketmag.com/submissions).

So, if you also have some works that you think these magazines might like, shoot ‘em their way, and tell them I sent you. It probably won’t help you very much (most likely not at all), but do it anyways.

Loving all of you always,

Sam Levenberg
Yorick Magazine

Speaking of Genitalia

by Steve Burns, Guest Writer

WARNING: This post is risqué and groovy.

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If Mr. Peanut Had Genitals, by CJ Sorg

Suddenly her bra’s off and the boobs are out. Maybe some fella’s schlong dangles momentarily on-screen. Either way, it’s happened and both parties who are watching this raunchy scene don’t know how to react. Typically, postures shift or someone clears their throat. You’ve been there when wobbly-bits enter the room, and you’ve endured the post-sex cool-down. These are three minutes and forty-five seconds you’d care not to watch (publicly) again. This is film, however.

When a poet uses the words dick, pussy, cunt, or cock at a reading before an already intently listening audience — something else happens. Ears perk up; smiles crack. My experiences at readings have shown me that poets use these suggestive terms to call attention to something larger than the words themselves. I first heard Ian Davisson read his work at Milano’s Pizzeria as part of CA Conrad’s Milano’s Reading Series. Davisson read his poem, “May 4th, 2012,” which says, “ask the right questions/you’ll be my friend forever/it’s a secret/boner in everyone’s/cup of coffee.” Combined with Davisson’s blunt, quivering delivery, folks around me immediately nodded, smirked, or sent consenting murmurs towards the front of the room where he read. I thought: “Ian uses the word boner in a really interesting way.” Sexualized terms can be abrasive, hauntingly absurd, and, at times, quite charming — Davisson’s work revealed this to me.

“May 4th, 2012” comes from a manuscript titled Summa Cum (appropriate, no?) and, in its entirety, is a ruthlessly lonesome, gnawing piece that flows from one shattered line to the next. A broken sexuality and paranoid isolation is the poem’s driving force; the phallus is at its core. Davisson begins his poem in hiding: “there’s a part of sleep/where you forget/it’s wonderful.” Sleep seems to be Davisson’s only solace. Unfortunately Davisson “won’t sleep tonight” because “I is for ian or/I is for issues.” “Ian” and “issues” are practically interchangeable, equally (painfully) alive. “[S]omeone,” says Davisson, “sleeps/inside me/leaves before I wake up.” It’s this someone who’s “a ghost/on [his] back.”

Davisson’s agony is most evident, however, in his sexually charged lines. On a restless night Davisson writes, “held my dick so tight/must have busted/something/lonely/out.” Here “dick” is being abused, exclaiming loneliness; this is not pleasurable. Davisson’s not sure what’s been released; he’s only certain it feels like isolation. Even “lonely” and “out” sit singularly on the page, unaccompanied in the line. “I’m paralyzed,” says Davisson. The issues Davisson faces have likely been assuaged by “Dr. Verdi” in the past, but in “May 4th, 2012” Davisson “can’t make it this week.” It’s safe to assume that Dr. Verdi is a counselor or therapist—“ask the right questions”—yet Davisson’s difficulties are not so confidential. “[I]t’s a secret/boner in everyone’s/cup of coffee,” writes Davisson. A boner, usually a private phenomenon, is poking obtrusively through everyone’s everyday beverage; it’s not a secret because it’s prodding everyone outright. “I love her,” says Davisson, “I’m sorry/there’s no reason for it/but I do/tell my relatives/I’m ok.” These fragmented lines, which illustrate Davisson’s attempts to calm concerned relatives, struggle to remain cohesive on the page. The “boner” renders assurances useless.

Davisson concludes that he “love[s]/knowing the stuff/that eats [him] alive.” After all, were it not for that stuff, we might not have this wonderfully compelling poem.

Check out more of Ian Davisson’s work here.

Steve Burns works and writes for Philly-based APIARY Magazine. He’s currently enrolled in Rutgers-Camden’s MFA program. His poems are weird. Also, he’s pretty tall.  

Regarding Poetry: Part 2 – Getting your Poetry Out into the Wide, Wide, Gloriously Wide World

By Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer

 

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Hermetic Globe, by Durotriges

Hello again out there!

First of all, thanks to everyone who submitted to the Summer 2013 issue of Yorick! Alex and Lauren sent responses to all who submitted, so check your emails if you sent in work. Expect the full issue to be produced by mid-August. Contributors’ copies will be sent out in the coming months.

So in the past I’ve talked about my favorite literary magazines and the pleasure I find in my own and others’ poetry. What ties magazine love and poetry love together, though, is that both exist because people write poetry (including, I hope, some of you!). So, anticipating that someday I’ll read in some literary magazine a cornucopia of good poetry that brings me delight—some such that will be written by you, members of the blogosphere—I have three suggestions on going about submitting and possibly having your poetry accepted.

1)      Know what kind of poetry you write. I think this is the most important part of submitting your poetry, because every magazine is looking for something different. If you write humorous, nonsensical poems and submit them to a magazine that’s looking for deep, emotionally heart-wrenching poems, you’re going to get rejected. So know what kind of poetry you write, and then try to find magazines that publish those kinds of poems. It’ll greatly enhance your chances of getting them published.

2)      If what you’re looking at is a smaller, less well known magazine—like 32 Poems, vox poetica, or Circus Book—then your best bet is to go online and find out when their deadlines are and then directly email the editor. Many times these editors don’t get a whole truckload of submissions, at least compared to bigger magazines like Paris Review, so hearing from someone who is looking to get their poetry out and about is a joy for them. I’ve had two or three email conversations with editors of small magazines, and one thing they always mention is that they love hearing from new poets and reading their poems; they never know what to expect and are often amazed by what they read. So, in short, take initiative and don’t be scared to email an editor.

3)      Compared to smaller literary magazines, hulking magazines like the Paris Review and The New Yorker receive thousands of submissions by their respective deadlines. So, emailing an editor of a magazine like that is impractical because it’s unlikely they’ll get back to you. However, there are online databases for writers that can greatly help you in your submissions to these magazines. One of the most well known is called Duotrope, which not only lists a large number of magazines both big and small, but also provides statistics on how likely it is that anything you submit will be accepted and how long it can take for different magazines to respond to your submission. For up-and-coming writers, as well as those who are more experienced, websites like Duotrope can be a great help for finding the magazine that’s right for you. In sum, utilize online resources to their fullest extent.

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully what I’ve give is useful to those of you who are looking to expand your poetry throughout the wide, wide world.

So long, and thanks for all the fish,

Sam Levenberg
Yorick Magazine