On Sending Off Some Poems


Today I sent nine of my poems off to several literary journals. Although I have had fun with the Monadnock Review and will continue to publish my poems therein (it's more of a perzine than a true publication), I've decided to send my poems and translations forth into the world. Mainly this is because I would like to publish a book or two of poems at some point, and the only way other than self-publishing that I'll be able to pull that off is if I get my poems published in some of the literary journals. I would like my first book of poems to be entitled Ancient Fire after the eponymous poem I wrote as an homage to Sappho back in 1995.

I've been impressed with some of the journals I've found, especially The Hudson Review and Paris Review (although I also sent two poems off to Poetry magazine, as well as five haiku to Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America). I would prefer not to publish in explicitly "formalist" journals if I can avoid it. Partly this is because, like Timothy Steele (whom I consider the finest poet writing in English today), I don't want to be labeled a formalist. And although I write in meter, I don't think that's the essential aspect of my poems. Besides, much formalist verse is conservative in both form and content, which leaves me in a quandary about what to do with a poem like Jesus in Atlantis. I've long been leery of the call to respect "traditional values" in the arts, since I think that artistic forms must be organic and grow out of the needs of the work. Their value must be inherent, not imposed by tradition. So artistic conservatism rings hollow for me, although I do recognize the value that has been created over the centuries by artists who have explored formal patterns in all the arts. I guess in art as in politics I've something of a moderate libertarian. :)

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal