submitting on others’ behalf

Mindful of this recent conversation, Whale Sound is now accepting submissions sent in on others’ behalf. Text added to submissions blurb:

Whale Sound also welcomes submissions on behalf of others, so feel free to propose work by other poets. I do need the author-poet’s permission to use his or her work, though, so please also include relevant contact info and I will reach out to get that permission if the work is accepted.

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the forestry student

For Dave Bonta‘s Festival of the Trees for September. This Tree Hugger Central piece may be part of the ongoing tree poem series (two more forthcoming in Salt River Review and another in MiPoesias – yay!), but maybe not, because it’s not about a particular tree.

the forestry student

there is congress in the foothills
the high country in spring
stands open like temple doors and speaks
in clean ways

Douglas fir and Ponderosa
pine expound here
heart-sharp arguments
blue spruce and mountain hemlock
knife-scented claims

a girl alone walks the pine forest
her familiars at home
are mahogany and teak forest
banyan and jacaranda

in crisp noon she tells
their distant stories
feels the Colorado mountain rooted
beneath her feet and listens
to the strangers

these high copper columns mantled
with living bristle with
green-silver needle
call for deep listening
and hearing speech

a song of home rises
off the bright alpine meadow
and a wind-woman in bells drifts through

she makes wheedling arguments in
wind-ridden voice but the girl
shakes her head
and walks on

naming each new tree
saluting it
with all the nerves in her hands
with all the meaning in her voice

hi-tech new Whale Sound feed – with audio player!

I changed (was obliged to change by glitches in the original, are you listening, Hipcast?) the online audio storage mechanism for Whale Sound and now I see that the Whale Sound feed suddenly features a nifty audio player for each post! So you don’t have to go to the actual site to hear the poems. This wasn’t happening with my previous audio host.

I welcome it, even though it means less actual visits to Whale Sound itself. I’ve long read all the blogs I read through Google reader and get aggravated when the content is formulated in a way that forces me (if I’m interested enough) to leave the reader and click through to the blog itself.

Facebook and getting your poems heard

Dear Poet X: Thank you for your submission to Whale Sound. I’d like very much to read your poem for the site and will begin to work with it soon.

If you are on Facebook, it would be great to have you friend me there — that way I can tag you when your piece is up. I have observed that easily 85 percent of the referral hits received by Whale Sound are from Facebook – either via tagged Facebook posts or via its Networked Blogs application.

If you prefer to limit your Facebook friends, you could also just ‘like’ the Whale Sound Facebook page, since I also tag Whale Sound poets there once their poems are posted.

Of course, you may not be on Facebook at all, in which case, just ignore everything I just said!

please contact my agent

Whale Sound: Dear Poet X – I am writing to ask your permission to interpret your poems ‘X’ and ‘Y’, publicly available at links Z and Q, for the audio anthology I am building at Whale Sound.

Poet X: Please contact my agent, who handles all these types of requests.

Whale Sound: Dear Poet X’s Agent, I have been referred to you by Poet X re: the request below. Would you let me know if this might work?

Poet X’s Agent: Dear Whale Sound – Are you able to pay for this permission? I can give you information regarding a fee for a grant of online audio rights if you are.

Whale Sound: Many thanks for getting back to me. No – this whole project is just gratis pro-poetry stuff. I am not paying or receiving payment for anything associated with it. Does this mean I can’t use the poems?

Poet X’s Agent: Unfortunately, Poet X is uncomfortable with the idea of their poetry appearing online in audio form. Thank you nevertheless for your query and good luck with your anthology.

I’ll be your poetry agent, if you’ll be mine

Dana said on Facebook (no idea how to link to Facebook posts):

Rather than clamoring to get our own work into journals, we should clamor to get other people’s work published.

I responded:

I totally agree with you, Dana. I’ve been thinking about this very issue recently. I’m not sure we are the best submitters of our own work, for a variety of reasons.

Why aren’t we the best submitters of our own work? Because it’s hard for us to see past it. We easily become overly-enamored and overly-identified (or, sometimes, overly-disenchanted) with our own work and therefore don’t always assess the publication we are targeting as a home for our work realistically. Because we are stressed, overwhelmed by ever-burgeoning possibility, blindly optimistic, or just humbly (and crazily) always hoping for the best, letting the chips fall where they may, since one never knows, after all… etc, etc.

I submit that it’s much easier for a third, more detached, person to accurately gauge the connection (or lack thereof) between a submission and the target journal. Of course, you would want that third person to have the skills & knowledge necessary for such gauging, and you would want them to have a demonstrated understanding of what you are trying to accomplish with your work. But find all that, and I predict that your publication rate will soar, if someone else starts submitting on your behalf.

This is what poets should do: poets should pair up. You submit my stuff and I submit yours. I steep myself in your stuff, and you steep yourself in mine. I scour the field with your stuff in mind, and you, vice versa. At the end of 3-6 months, we compare notes. What’s the publication score? Is this partnership working for both of us, or working at all? Should we continue or call it quits?