I was poring over the 2011 Writer’s Market a few days ago, trying to see if any of my work would be a good match for publications seeking submissions, and also letting my creative wheels churn a bit to see if there was anything I would be able to conjure out of thin air to submit as well. There are a few publications that I dream about being published in, and I’m sure there are others out there that might like my writing style; I just don’t know about them yet.
One of the publications I stumbled across focused on haiku poetry, which is my favorite style of poetry, and one that I am (I think) quite good at composing. I like its simplicity and the freedom between it’s deceptively simple lines. I love that each bite-sized bit of verse holds a rich history and the culture behind every syllable. I felt my heart beat a little faster as I saw that they had an open submission policy, and even paid a small amount upon publication. My heart dropped, though, when I saw just how rigid they were about the creative process itself and the work that they accepted. They wanted this kind of haiku, not that. They didn’t want anything contrived or cerebral (these words were actually used). Nothing corny or hokey or too thought-provoking. They also cautioned would-be contributors to study up on haiku before composing something. They didn’t want anything in the classic 5-7-5. They didn’t want anything that sounded anything like Basho. They didn’t want you to like popular music or have red hair. Their rules were endless and constricting.
That’s not how we work here*. I get why some publications are like that, though. They have a set goal in mind, a specific vision, and they want work by contributors to conform to that mold. I don’t care about molds. I just really like to look at art and read prose, poetry, and fiction, and want to share as many voices as I possibly can. Art is a subjective process. Something you might enjoy I might abhor, and vice versa. Doesn’t mean it’s not an admirable piece of art or literature (case in point: I can’t stand Jonathan Franzen novels. I don’t think that they’re not good, I just don’t like them). It’s not for me to say, really. I’m no critic, as I’ve said before.
So send us what YOU love, that you’ve made with an open heart. We promise to share it, to foster it and help it grow. And it can even sound a little bit like Basho, and be cerebral, and thought-provoking.
Our next issue is themed For Real. We want real stories, confessions, portraits of the every day and inner lives. But you can take that theme however you see fit. We’re just excited to see where the cards fall.
“All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” – Federico Fellini