Last week on our Instagram account (@gyroscopereview), we ran a series of helpful resource books for poets that people seemed to like quite a lot. We’ve also noticed that writers love blogs that publish interviews with editors – we see them shared around Facebook all the time. Facebook, by the way, offers multiple groups that share and support writers. So, we thought it might be time to run an article that brings a few of these resources together in one place.
We’ll start with the list of poetry resource books we ran on Instagram. Here they are:
Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio
the poetry dictionary by John Drury
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland
The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
There are many, many other resources, of course; A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch comes to mind, a comprehensive volume of poetic forms and terms. There are resources like The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron that, while not specifically for poets, pushes writers and artists of all sorts to rethink their creative work. Find what works for you, for your lifestyle and learning style.
Next, let’s talk about blogs and websites. There are so many helpful options for poets that we know we cannot cover them all. We’ll give you a few of the well-known ones below and you can find more from there.
The Alchemist’s Kitchen – Poetry, Travel, and the Creative Writing Life – This blog, run by poet Susan Rich, not only has inspiring posts, but also offers the opportunity to buy services for poets (editing, coaching, how to do a grant proposal, etc.) on a sliding fee scale.
The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog – This blog offers poetry prompts and guest bloggers from the poetry community. The post from February 10 discussed preparing for publication.
Poetic Asides – Writer’s Digest poetry editor Robert Lee Brewer runs this blog with poetry prompts, discussions of various poetic forms, and other tidbits for poets.
Poetry Foundation – This website is one of our favorites. Learn about poets and poems of all sorts. You can listen, too. They are also the folks who will send a poem a day to your email inbox. And the Poetry Foundation blog, Harriet, discusses poetry and related news.
Poets & Writers Blogs – Here you can find calls for submission, grant deadlines, workshop information, and more. By the way, the Poets & Writers website has a tab called, “Find Your Community”. It has directories for writers, literary events, MFA programs and more.
Trish Hopkinson – Trish’s blog consistently delivers a series of places to submit, particularly places with no reading fees, publishes interview with editors, and has guest bloggers. (Bonus: a Gyroscope Review editors interview will be available on the site this week.)
For a comprehensive list of blogs by poets and writers, visit the list that New Pages put together here: https://www.newpages.com/writers-resources/poets-and-writers-blogs
There are many groups that offer news and support. Facebook is full of those – simply do a search for poetry groups and you’ll find all sorts of options. Search #poetsofinstagram to find posts related to poetry on Instagram. Search #poetrycommunity on Twitter. Hashtags are quite useful to search for other poets, calls for submission, deadlines, etc. Follow your favorite poetry journals on whatever social media you use the most. And don’t be afraid to ask for group members who might be interested in looking at your work to give feedback.
Finally, if you need a nudge now and then, prompts are posted by many journals and poets, including us. Visit our Instagram feed every Sunday morning to get a new prompt for the week, or look up our hashtags, #promptsforpoets and #GRcultivatepoetry to get the whole list. We repost them on Facebook and Twitter, too.
Remember, resources are abundant. The poetry community is a large and welcoming place. And you, dear poets, all have your place in it.
image courtesy of Pixabay.com
This is the End, My Friend: How to not get a poem rejection
I realize poets don’t get much feedback on their rejections. I wanted to address some common problems we see that can get your poem rejected from our slush. The biggest thing we are seeing is an ending that just falls flat. The poem is chugging along with some good imagery and turns of phrase, and then the end goes to the easy conclusion. It wants to wrap everything up with a pretty bow.
We ask that you take the bow and stuff it in the trash. Shred it into confetti. We want an ending that leaves us thinking. That leaves us with a feeling there is more to the poem than is being said here. That makes us want to read it all over again. Not to say we should have to spend a lot of time puzzling out the ending. No one wants that. It’s a balancing act.
Perhaps your poem should have stopped a stanza before the end. We see a lot of this. There is a nice turn of phrase or image that would be a perfect end to the poem, but in the rush to get to a conclusion, any conclusion, it’s overlooked. Examine your poem carefully. What’s been said before? Do you have a new way of saying it? Does your ending border on cliché? If it’s an elegy, does it end on the maudlin?
Where to stop when writing a poem is tough. Always go back to asking, what do I want the reader to take away from this poem? What is going to be the reader’s last impression? Sometimes the first line would better serve as a last line. I know, I know, then you have to come up with another kick ass first line. You can do it. It’s what got you excited about the poem in the first place. Try and recapture that feeling at the end of the poem. Because if you aren’t excited about your final words, the reader isn’t going to be either. Flex those poetry muscles. End strong.