Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are you overlooking a hidden gem?

Here’s a link to an article worth reading for every up and coming author and poet. Lindsay Merbaum, fiction writer and essayist, tells it like it is without totally quashing all hope of getting published. While she lets it be known that indeed there is an MFA in-crowd and the system does work in their favor, she also offers hope for newbies and the less prestigiously affiliated.

She says, “Remember that no publication is too small. Years ago, I published a story in a little-known online magazine, back when any online publishing was considered second-rate. I was sort of disappointed, until I discovered a secret about those up-and-coming journals: they work hard for their writers. Because of the dedication of the editors at that journal, my story was nominated for an award and ended up in a print anthology of online writing. Two agents saw the piece in the anthology and contacted me, which is such a rare occurrence, it's like I got struck by lightning. Twice.”

We have a local example in the Marin Poetry Center Anthology. While submission is only open to members, submissions are competitive and actually having a poem accepted in the annual anthology is not a given. There’s a lot of talent in Marin County and the Bay Area. MPC members include such notable poets as Kay Ryan and Robert Hass, both past US poet laureates, as well as Jane Hirschfield, Ellen Bass and Prartho Sereno, all established poets with books, students and awards to their credits. The 2015 volume is the first to include many of them, perhaps because this little anthology has rightfully developed quite a reputation, and these renowned poets not only want to support the local poetry community but feel their own poetry belongs there too.

And, as Merbaum mentions, small publications nominate for awards like the Pushcart Prize, too. Our own Stephanie Noble was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee, something she gets to have on her bio forever, and all because she didn’t turn up her nose at offering her work to a lesser known publication.

Something to consider! Read the article and let me know what you think.

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