Sunday, September 20, 2009

Part Two of for the Love of Index Cards - Piles and Piles of Poems

In deciding what to send to journals, I make 3 piles of my index cards (each card contains the title of a poem I've written and hasn't been published yet).

The first pile contains my favorite poems, the ones I feel strongest about, the A-list poems. These are poems I feel are well-crafted and are ready to go into the world.

The second pile is my B-list poems. I like these poems a lot, but intuitively, I sense more could be done with these.

The third pile is my Good God, Don't Send These Out pile. These are poems that at one time I thought were complete, but aren't. This will become my To Revise pile that I will keep near my desk to work on during my writing time.

* * *

Once I have the poems in three piles, I make smaller piles of the A-list poems 3-5 poems each. These will be what I submit today. This is the easiest part of submitting, I organize my favorite poems together and send them out to my favorite journals.

Once that is done, I have to deal with my B-list poems. One by one I pull them up on my computer to see if my intuition was correct that they are not finished and need some work. If it's something minor, I try to work on it them. If it's something more serious, they are set on the top of my Good God pile until later.

I will probably only have a couple submissions from this pile as I tend to be really picky about what I send out.

After this, I have a large glass of wine and go to bed.

I'm kidding. I usually feel okay after this, but need a walk outside just to get out of the house.


So there it is, how I submit, how I decide what to revise, and how I keep from embarrassing myself with bad poems.



  1. Good job on your subs, Kels! I already got rejected from one of mine from last week - I think Paris Review must have seen my name on the envelope, said "I hate her" and sent it back with a rejection.
    On the plus side, first rejection to show up in my new PO Box!

  2. I need to write more to build up some piles of my own.

    I wonder if I can be as harsh with my little poems as you are with yours. Yeah, actually, on second thought, I would probably put all of them in the third pile directly. Yes, I need to get writing.

    I never thought of myself as a poet before, but I am starting to think of that and you are such great inspiration. Just wanted to say thank you.

  3. I am doing this today, using almost the exact same process!

  4. i love the names of your piles :)
    i don't group mine into any separate categories there is just the unpublished pile - sometimes however - when a poem comes back from being rejected i realize it is D-list and i work on revising it before sending it back out.

    speaking of submitting poems, i really need to get on that today i think!


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