GETTING YOUR POEM ACCEPTED BY A LITERARY PRESS

Your family, friends, reading groups, writer’s circles all love your poetry. Why is it so difficult to get your work accepted by a literary press?

Great poets know that the first three or four lines require a hook.

Part of the problem is that literature works are art, and therefore, subjective. I have been writing for so long that I know I have a feel for what it takes to write a stellar poem; and yes, many of my poems are not stellar in the public’s view. I know that. But I wrote them out of the earnest desire to express a view. I do have a folder of unpublished poems – I cannot let go of the creative ideas birthed within those writings, but I cannot publish them, either. They are not very good. Most of them were written when my vocabulary and skills were nascent.
Black Velvet with Diamonds
What I do when submitting poetry to contests or literary presses: I choose the poems that have the best “hook.” Writers know that novels require a hook – great poets know that the first three or four lines also require a hook.

I’m happy to report that this poem, “Black Velvet with Diamonds,” will be published in “Poetry Quarterly.” As any poet can attest, it is a great feeling to know that someone else liked your poem enough to feature it in their journal. The poem came to me as I was sitting in my back yard one night, admiring the clear view of the desert sky (I live in Las Vegas, Nevada). I began to wonder why God would create this view, and penned:

BLACK VELVET WITH DIAMONDS
The rained pummeled His roof
for days and days
When the leaden clouds parted
He was lifted from His haze

So He built an impossibly long table
draped it with black velvet
and littered it with diamonds

The newborn twinkling stars
surely never shown so bright
The nascent moon
surely never looked so kind
as they did on that first cloudless night

God reclined on his couch, satisfied
took a nap
and dreamed up man
to be a willing audience,
to appreciate His nocturnal nativity

To submit your work in “Poetry Quarterly,” follow the guidelines on their website: http://poetryquarterly.com/

Which poems of your own have the best hook?

Good luck! Keep writing & keep sharing – Cronin Detzz

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