The last few weeks have been quite a ride for my poetry work, so apologies for neglecting my blog. This is a short post to give you my news. Read no further if you’re not interested in a few paragraphs of blatant boasting.
First I heard that two poems had been accepted by Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine in Chicago. Don has been wonderfully encouraging in his rejections of my previous attempts (yes, there are grades of rejection), and this time I had improved enough to make the cut: I’m still a bit giddy about it, to be honest. It’s always humbling to pass this kind of news on to non-poet friends, who nod kindly as if it’s not one of the best magazines in the States and being published in it isn’t some kind of lifelong dream for us all.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the email containing tax forms, permissions and general paperwork needed for actually paying a poet a decent fee. It simply hadn’t occurred to me I’d be getting anything more than the twenty quid or so I’ve ever made from being published in a magazine. No sir. Ten dollars a line (with a cap, before you start dreaming up that immense narrative ballad).
Then yesterday I went to London to talk to another publisher: Todd Swift of Eyewear Publishing. I met him and Kelly Davio (his Senior Editor) in a café. After about twenty minutes, the lady at the next table leaned over and tartly instructed us to keep the noise down. We – three of us who had been simply chatting in a public space – tried to point out how a busy café differed from a library, but she was having none of it. “I tried to tell you politely …” was her final salvo, before returning to her newspaper. We shifted a table along, and the rest of the meeting was punctuated by us shh-ing each other and giggling lest she got riled again. Todd blamed Kelly for being American, and dragging his Canadian accent into disrepute; I was left trying to apologise for the British ire and being extra chirpy to make up for our national phlegm.
On the plus side, Grumpy Lady is the star of the next poem I write. I should thank her really.
Anyway, all this whispered plotting resulted in a decision that my debut poetry collection will be published in October by Eyewear, and therefore yesterday was one of the best days of my life, and no amount of shh-ing will dampen that.
Now we just have to decide which poems make it in … and what the title should be. My first suggestion was immediately shot down by Kelly and tentatively liked by Todd, so who knows? This is going to be fun.
Here – have some celebratory fireworks: