28 August 2008

BFS Mania Sweeps the Nation!

This morning I taught my Intro to Poetry Writing class about hyperbole. The title of this post contains hyperbole. But I thought that if I started a sensation, then BFS madness will be rampant across the globe, and eventually it'll come back to me, and then I'll catch the fever.

BFS = Big Fall Submission

Last year I didn't do one. I did non-sim-subs, and solicitations. That was fine, except now I have at least, I think, 30 poems that need homes. And two book manuscripts that need journal pubs. The solution: going back to the BFS.

In order to begin the BFS season, let's brainstorm about our plans, using thinly-veiled codewords and other vaguenesses, like, "I don't think I'll bother submitting to DIAGRAM again, since they always reject me," and so on. Oh, whoops. That's not very secretive, is it.

Anyhow, it will be fun to pick out places again. I've been keeping a list in my phone, but if you have faves you'd recommend, please share. I got a new Poet's Market, so we'll see how that works out. Here's an old post about the BFS for you, from back when I had a whole floor to myself as an office. Ancient history.

Has BFS mania hit your corner of the world? Are you exhibiting any symptoms? Have you found the cure?


Jay Robinson said...

The cure for BFS fever is to make sure you're not sugarfree for more than 72 hours. Such a sugarfree expanse of time never bodes well for your clavicle.

On a serious note, I think the BFS is a good idea, if you have enough poems to sustain it, and if they are poems you believe in enough to not be bothered when they get rejected.

PS--At first I thought the headline of today's blog was BFF Sweeps the Nation!

Keith said...

My cure is my shabby 5-decent-poems-written summer. And it may be even less than that.

I'm hoping for more of the BWS or BSS, though I don't know if I'll be in Richmond next summer, so maybe the spring will have to turn into winter, if I actually write poems.

Karen J. Weyant said...

No BFS for me! I talk about this more on my blog...Good Luck, Mary! Looking forward to seeing this new batch of work out in the world.

Collin said...

I wouldn't call it mania, but I usually do send out some subs in the fall, so I probably will. I think have a tiny clutch of poems that might be ready for prime time.

Pris said...

I'm wondering if more submissions are sent in the Fall by people in academia. I tend to submit year round, avoiding holidays, of course. My profession was psychologist, so I know little about academic pressures in literature. Is there a particular push then? Just curious.

Brian Campbell said...

I posted about BFS's and "homes for poetry" chez moi... You have a blogger's gift: a special talent for stimulating discussion. Thanks.

Oliver de la Paz said...

Yay! BFS! I'm ready to bust out my Excel Spreadsheet.

John Gallaher said...

Ah, yes. I always thought of it as "The Big September Push." (And then the "the Big January Reprise.") It slipped my mind this year. I'm not sure what I think of being reminded.

It's always a fun afternoon, isn't it, printing out the however many cover letters and then deciding which six poems to which journal.

Journals I don't enjoy reading, I don't send poems to. So I don't send to Poetry or either of the GRs (for some fancy code).

Following that same logic, journals I enjoy reading, I enjoy sending poems to, no matter if they continually send my poems back back or not.

The journals I most enjoy reading these days (leaving BR and TLR out of it):

Colorado Review
Denver Quarterly
New American Writing
The Journal

There's one called Center, out of U of Missouri, that I'm interested in. As well as one called Handsome, out of Boston, I think?

West Branch is good. As are many others: Black Warrior Review, Phoebe, LIT. The more I think about it, the more the list goes on. This could take awhile.

I keep them all in a Word file, and what I send, and when, etc. And when it comes back. I've been keeping it since 1998. It's very long now. 17 pages or something. Ouch. I keep thinking there's some reason I don't delete rejections from a decade ago, but I can't articulate it.

newzoopoet said...

Oh but why fight it? It's so damned much fun!

Radish King said...

I submit work every Saturday morning. Usually 3 poems or two stories. But one envelope, or e-mail every Saturday, is much less stressful for me than BFS mania.

Anonymous said...

I was up until three the other night sending out electronic subs. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

The cure is harsh but effective: a swift fusillade of terse rejections from editors heavily influenced by Simon Cowell that, in the face of all you feel to be good and true, make you feel like crap.

Julie said...

Oh yes, I'm planning to submit, but just a little bit at a time, maybe a few submissions at the end of each month, to keep me from thinking on it too much.

Matthew Thorburn said...

I've got the mania too. I lugged a bunch of envelopes to the post office yesterday -- poems for journals, book manuscript to two presses, and even a chapbook manuscript (oh, why not). I have 17 poems I'm sending out this fall -- so I'm impressed with your 30, MB! -- and am mostly going with sim subs, though there are a couple places I want to try particular poems with that don't take them. But 6 of the 17 are out to another place (of the non-sim-sub variety) so my fall push is really getting going later this month...

For recommendations -- I sent poems to Crab Orchard Review and Pleiades, and plan to send to Seneca Review (one of my all-time favorites), New England Review, and maybe TriQuarterly.

Anonymous said...

This year's BFS is very scaled back... I have so many poems still out from my Big Summer Submission rounds in June and July... I'm only sending 2 journal submissions this month (Gettysburg and Notre Dame). A few manuscript submissions, too. Perhaps October will be my BFS month this year.

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