View Full Version : Newsletter- N/D 07
04-11-2007, 11:04 AM
've just had a read through the new PI Newsletter, and would like to begin by thanking Peter Sirr for all his hard work. I've only read PIR under his editorship but it has been a real pleasure.:D
The Editorial raises some interesting points. The first being the wealth of talent in Ireland at the moment. What is it about this country? How is possible that we continue to turn out such a huge amount of top class writers/poets? The Editorial also asks more important questions about funding, or the lack of, for poets. As a young poet I confess to knowing little about funding or how it works. I don't consider myself accomplished enough to make that step yet, but it isn't something I'm looking forward to.
I would like to talk a little about Peter Sirr's article in particular. At the moment I'm reading Patrick Kavanagh's Selected Poems, and the Introduction alludes to some of the points Peter makes in his article...specifically the sense of 'Irishness' or 'Irish poetry' and the effect it can have on the 'poetry of Ireland.'
For me, poetry is international. And the influences on my own poetry and writing are far ranging. Yes, it's important to read poetry from Ireland, to read the journals and little magazines, but it's equally important to read poetry on an international level (I think anyways).
04-11-2007, 11:09 AM
Jorge Fondebrider's article touches on this as well. Reading poetry from another place (country) opens the persons mind to different perspectives, new interpretations of self and nation.
Peter Sirr has to be commended on the amount of translated poetry the appeared during his time as editor. Personally, it has been one of the most interesting aspects of PIR, and I hope it continues in the future.
Another interesting point he makes is that many good Irish poets don't submit to PIR. Why is this? I have quite a bit of success in journals and small magazine throughout Ireland over the last year or so (I'm not including myself with 'good poets') but I've never submitted to PIR though I've been reading it over these last few years. Why? I don't know, maybe reputation, the quality of what is included within the pages...i'm not sure.
Anyways, I'll stop here. These were some of the thoughts going through my head after i read the new PI Newsletter, thought I'd share.
05-11-2007, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the kind words Stephen - be interesting to hear what others thought of the issue.
05-11-2007, 02:10 PM
Yeah...I posted a few general views hoping to draw others in.
08-11-2007, 05:32 PM
Another interesting point he makes is that many good Irish poets don't submit to PIR. Why is this?
I wonder do so many established poets not submit to PIR and other well-known journals because they're afraid of rejection? I think when some poets reach a certain level, and are accepted as part of the literary establishment, they begin to feel that everything they write is of the same publishable standard. It's all good. And rather than have that delusion exposed by a possible rejection, the don't submit at all, or wait to be invited to submit to a journal. Personally I don't think publication on a Monday is any guarantee of the quality of the writing on a Tuesday. Yet it seems to be the accepted norm that if you, for example, get a collection out, then you're incapable of writing a dodgy line never mind a rubbish poem for the rest of your natural.
08-11-2007, 05:50 PM
I think your right Hippasus. It could well be a case of self-protection. Which is surprising, because having work rejected doesn't necessarily make it 'bad', and you would expect established poets not to take that type of thing personally. Maybe some feel beneath submitting like everyone else and wait until they are asked.
I agree with your point that one days quality doesn't guarantee the next. Like everything, quality of poetry can and does change.
08-11-2007, 10:21 PM
I think it's down to the cosmic originality of the pretend universe we construct when setting out up the career pole. Poetic self-respect isn't conferred by anyone else, but our mind alone, and an editor is only one person. Their opinion, is exactly that. Even the best choose chaff over wheat. Yeats as editor of the Oxford Book of Modern Verse 1892-1935, most agree was just him logrolling his mates from the pub.
And Heaney says you only respect those whose work you respect. So if a poet submits to someone whose work they believe inferior to their own and they reject them, this can lead to tears in Nearys, a set to in the Dukes, a heated exchange in McDaids, or a punch up in the Palace over the politics behind being excluded from a rag.
Poets' egos are second only to third world dictators and the prophets of rock 'n roll who save the world from Whelans, and really, what does it mean to be "published"? I publish all day long, and stopped sending out when Maura Kennedy published me in the Galway Arts Centre e-zine, after getting my work in about ten various rags, as i saw it as a game, steps of a process rather than a final affirmation.
Learn the craft first and then publish. Literally thousands of poetry collections are published each year, most sell next to zilch, so it's essentially a vanity game anyway.
There is an interesting article Ron Silliman led me too, about 12 first timers getting books out. One said:
"I felt frocked on the outside, and fraudulent on the inside.."
one measures success:
"..less..(on) .. sales numbers and awards and more (by).. human responses.."
The ouldest trick is to get good on one's own terms. Let instinct create your own rules of engagement and don't measure success against how well one's rival bores appear to be doing. Get people gassing about yer by developing critical prose and demolishing big names with it. Then pull out a royal flush, just for the sheer heck of it..
09-11-2007, 11:11 AM
I agree that a writer shouldn't just use publication credits as a yardstick, there's got to be personal conviction too no matter what. There's always that battle between belief in your work's worth -- a poem, say, or a story -- and your fear that the editor was right to reject it. It's like a tightrope walk between self-delusion and self-belief. Sometimes editors are right, sometimes they're wrong. And sometimes work is rejected because the editor has run out of room, so good work is returned. But even though publication isn't everything, I think it's a good idea to try out poems / stories / etc in journals from time to time. Get some publication credits and then pull out of that rat race, work on the writing, decide then what you want to do. Lot more options these days too, like self-publication for instance. This is where publication credits in journals can help, just to shut up those naysayers who think you're deluding yourself with self-publication, you can point to your journal credits which is probably the only currency those folk understand. But it also gives a boost to your confidence that you can mix it in the mainstream marketplace, then go back to your own personal highways and byways. William Blake self-published. Enough said.
19-11-2007, 09:51 AM
I think that striking the balance is the difficult part. I agree on both accounts that the most important affirmation in writing poetry is human response rather than publishing credits. For me, a friend, stranger or family members enjoyment of poem has a longer lasting effect than seeing it published in a book.
We write poetry for people to read do we not, and there in lies the conundrum. Submitting to magazines and journals increases your level of readership and brings your poems to the masses so to speak. Personally, I also submit to places as a form of motivation. It's a way of measuring and encouraging myself to continue writing. I hold my hands up and agree that they may not be the best reason, but belief rejection has as big an impact (if not more) on my hunger to write than acceptance does.
I think that Hippasus has a point when he says that although publication credits aren't everything when you go to submit a manuscript or self-publish people will invariably make judgements based on credits. An interesting thing I noticed was that when Alan Gillis published his first collection Somebody, Somewhere none of the poem had been previously published. A rare step for a modern poet.
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