Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Question: How Many of Your Poems Were Published in your MSS When You Began Submitting it?

I was asked how many poems were previously published in my manuscript when I began submitting it.


Because I switched computers in 2007, I'm not sure how many of my poems were published in the first version I submitted in 2005 (I'm guessing it was about 15-20), I'll try to see if I can find that info. I think there may be a copy on our old laptop.

However, in 2007, 37 of the poems out of 42 poems had been accepted in various journals.

In the manuscript, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, that was recently accepted, there are 44 poems, of those 44 poems, 32 have been previously published in literary journals.

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Reading this, it might not make sense because you'd think I'd have more poems published in journals now than in an earlier version.

I think the biggest difference is while the earlier version had a lot of previously published poems, I decided that even though they were published, they weren't necessarily my strongest poems, so I made the choice to take some of them out of my manuscript and include poems that I felt were stronger, but hadn't been published yet.

I think when I first began putting this manuscript, I was listening more to what others thought-- which poems they thought were stronger. Oh, if an editor published this, it must be good, when really there were other poems I liked better. Or they were good poems, but didn't necessarily belong in this manuscript.

I think the key to putting a manuscript is listening to your inner voice that knows what you like, what you think is good, and trying to quiet the voices of ego and others who may see other things for your collection.

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2 comments:

Michael said...

Very good question. Makes me wonder about a lot of other manuscripts.

Jessie Carty said...

it is a terrific question! as i was putting together my first manuscript and stumbling i started reading a lot of first books by other poets and found that, in most cased, over half had been previously published :)

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