27 February 2009

Runaway Manuscript + Dysfunctional Poetry Zine = Saturday

How do you know when one project is done and the next is starting? Or, alternately, how do you stop picking at a manuscript and quit sticking new things into it? I guess I know that my new ms is underway, but I keep wanting to insert new poems into the manuscript I just finished (and it's over 60 pages, so not necessary).

If anyone knows the answer, please share.

Maybe I'll duct tape socks over my hands so that I stop picking on it.

In other news, there's a sweet new online litmag out there called Slant, and I am super excited to have three poems appearing in the debut issue. When I saw the call for subs I wondered if I had any poems about dysfunction. How dysfunctional of me! I have very few poems that are not about some sort of dysfunction. I thought it was especially refreshing to see a journal with such an open thematic guideline. Usually I'm like, "Oh shit. Do I really have five cauliflower poems to send for this special cruciferous vegetable issue?"

Here's the scoop:

Slant is a poetry e- journal featuring three poems per author on the subject of dysfunction. We’re interested in poetry that explores various dysfunctional environments be it mental, familial, natural, political, societal and others. If you have a poem addressing your dysfunctional sunglasses, send them in, too. We’re interested in the humorous, the serious, and the rebellious. Because we are theme based, we like reading and publishing poetry in batches and therefore require that the poetry showcased by each author stands as a cohesive whole.

If you are interested in submitting to Slant, please send three (only three) poems to slantpoetry@gmail.com with “poetry submission - your name” in the subject line. Please include a brief bio (brief!) along with your submission. Please include your poems within the body of the email. If you have special formatting requirements, please query us beforehand regarding our attachment policy. We read on a rolling basis and do not commit to scheduled release dates. All work published in Slant will remain in our archives. Each author will have one full page dedicated to their poems for (around) a two week time period until a new batch of poems by a different author will take their place.

At times, the editor may choose to include artwork on the poetry page along with the published poems. All showcased artwork is chosen solely by the editor.

We expect to put out one print anthology annually containing selected poems published to the Slant web journal from the previous year.

Please allow 4-6 weeks for a response. Any questions should be sent to slantpoetry@gmail.com.


John Gallaher said...

I always think of manuscripts as open questions. I tend to stack them on a shelf and continue to think about them for some time. Off and on. While doing other things. I have one that's now seven or so years old sitting there. It calls out to me pitifully every now and then.

Lyle Daggett said...

My manuscripts in progress tend to overlap. I'm typically working on half a dozen manuscripts-in-progress at any one time.

Usually, at some point, I get a sense of how large (how many poems) the finished manuscript will be, and when I've written roughly that number of poems, I feel for any gaps or any transitions between poems that feel too abrupt, or (alternately) for too much crowding. Then I add or subtract poems (and/or keep working and write one or two additional poems) as needed.

Usually, with me, it's much more to a manuscript, than needing to cut things out. Same with individual poems -- if a poem doesn't feel like it's quite working, if something sounds just a little "off" or wrong, it usually means I need to add a line or a phrase in the spot in the poem where I'm noticing the problem. Rarely does it feel like I need to cut anything.

Word verification is "tryte."

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Mary,
A quick question:
How would the meaning of your title change if it said, “Runaway Manuscript X Dysfunctional Poetry Zine = Saturday “?

All the best,

Matthew Thorburn said...

Hi Mary, I'm starting to think a manuscript isn't done until it's published and taken away from the author (in a certain sense). I keep tinkering with my second book ms., moving poems in and out.

Right now it has an overhauled middle section and feels done and ready to send out to the next wave of contests. But I have had this feeling several times before!

I'm struggling now with the question of how to get started on whatever the next project may be...

Justin Evans said...

I have never known. I seem to have always been ambushed in my writing. I did not know I was writing my first chapbook until I had written half the poems. As it turns out, only a few of the powems which finally made it in were written after I realized I was writing a chapbook. I also knew it was a chapbook, too.

My second chapbook was an intentional project, and suffered because of that. My third went through at least eight specific incarnations before having a final line-up created.

For my first book manuscript I was working with poems I had already written, so that was easy to start, but difficult to end, or at least know when I was done.

My new manuscript started with a glance at a single poem on the dust jacket of another, infinitely better poet than myself. I started writing poems in a flurry and I am not quite finished writing poems. I still have a few of what I call, 'knowing' poems---those poems which are conscious of what is going on in the rest of the book, those poems which speak directly to the subject matter.

I can't plan whne to be finished with a project, but I know exactly when I am finished.

Take on May

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