Thursday, December 09, 2004

Look at My Table

Like the rest of us, as far as I can tell, I've been tinkering with ("molesting" might be more apporpriate [no, no, "molesting" is never appropriate]) my manuscript. It's an addiction. Here's what is sitting at 6 book (mostly first-book) contests.

The Man Suit

1. Deleted Scenes

#77 2
#108 3
#120 4


The Center of Worthwhile Things 6
Experiment in Invisibility 7
Late Shift at the Clambake Afterlife 8
The Bear Mutilation 9
What I Found in the Forest 10
Congressman Chainsaws for Arms 11
Bear and Camper 12
I’m Not Carlos 13

3. Telephones 14


Underneathe Pathetique 22
Cold and Unattached 23
If Great Lakes 24
Lepellier Experiment 25
Soukatsu Jibun 26
Sea of Japan 27
The Things that Surround Us 28
The Lung and Haircut 29
Islands in the Black Night 30
A Band of Owls Moved Into Town 31
Low-Life Pilgrims 32

5. [Opera Singer] 33


Last President of a Dark Country 42
Letter to the Late Baron 43
What Everyone Started Wearing 44
The Sandwich Board 45
Experiment in Geography 46
Policy for Whales 47
Maybe Columbus Day 48
I’ve Since Folded This Poem Into a Perfect Airplane 49
What I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You 50
Letter to Scientists 51
Telephones II 52
Telephones III 53
Last President’s Address 54
The String Quartet 55
David Ignatow Poem 57

33 of these 39 poems are already in, or are forthcoming in publications. I've been worrying lately if this fact is a negative mark to contest judges. Perhaps there is a desire among judges to pull someone from the dark corner that few other editors or contest judges have been able to find.

And these poems have been slowly released to each of these mags over the past 3 years or so. The new poems that I have been working on are going to be unreleased for the time being I think. They are far from becoming a manuscript at this point, but I think the next manuscript may be a little more effective if I stew everything in the same pot for a longer period of time, let all the ingredients soak into one another, and then serve everyone at the same time so they can discuss as they eat. Mmm this thing here is delicious. Yes, I am eating this other thing from the same pot as you are eating yours, and it too is delicious. The whole pot must be outstanding. This is quite the cook. I don't know. Thoughts?

I also wanted to display my Man Suit contents because as an editor of Octopus, as I select individual poem(s )that are submitted, I often wonder how they(it) fit into the whole manuscript. Where are they located? Are they connected to other poems? Is it the lead poem of a section, or of the whole thing? The closing poem? I think about these things. If you are an editor of a mag I made it into, and you think these things too, here you go. Here you go, man.


Brennen Wysong said...

On pulling someone from the dark corner... Back in the day, when I wrote a short story collection, I took the opposite pov--that it was only to my advantage to publish as many stories as widely as possible. I did, in the end, figure it meant very little that I'd appeared in journals X, Y, and Z, as it wasn't about how the stories stood on their own, but how they hung together as a collection.

I'd say you should simply be proud of your accomplishments, and many accomplishments at that, considering how many of the poems in the collection you've published/will have published. If judges are worth their weight, they'll being judging the merits of the work and not what comes before it on a page that lists previous publications.

Good luck with your submissions! And quit molesting those poems!

Zachary Schomburg said...


Thanks for the perspective/advice/encouragement. I bet you're cool. I'm linking your blog.