Sunday, March 08, 2020

unlovable darlings

Earlier, I was using a print out draft of a poem as scrap paper, and when I flipped it over, discovered it was a piece from my swallow series, which is mostly about growing up with serious body and disordered eating issues.  I read through and thought "DAYUM..that's good." Real good..maybe the best thing I've written lately, though I've been happy with other things just as readily.  The extinction series, for example.  Or the summer house poems.  But then remembered how hard it had been to submit the work contained in it successfully.  While I probably didn't try as hard as I should have, even in my year of collecting rejections, it languished while poems in other series were snatched up readily first try. I sent batches out  2 or 3 times, but then sort of retired them.  Becuase I really like them and had moved on to submitting other things, I posted a few on social media, then just rolled them into my FEED manuscript when I started sending that out.   While I may do a chap or book object, it's not imminent, though I would love to add some sort of visual element to them.

Nevertheless, I was trying to figure out why I liked them so much, and it may have to do with swallow being a bit ore autobiographical than most of what I'm writing lately.  Beyond hunger palace, I've been doing a lot of ore researched, heavily persona projects.  But then, that fact alone, makes me wonder if I'n deluded as to how good they are. Too close.  But then I started thinking about other, less personal, projects I also thought were strong, or individual poems I thought were the bomb, that went sadly unpublished while other poems were readily snatched up, sometimes from the same batch of submissions.

I often wonder if those unloved poems are my favorites because I've taken more risks with them.  That they are somehow more raw and unruly, and therefore less palatable to editors.  But being an editor myself, I am looking for the raw and unruly, but maybe I am more alone in this than I think.  I wondered at first if it was more that my subject matter wasn't striking a match with publications, so I went looking for mostly female ran pubs, but still no.  Maybe no one cares about poems about little fat girls, but I hope this is not the case.   I also think they are perfect as they are, so none of that "kill your darlings" nonsense tings true. So I'm not really sure what to do with them.

I liked them well enough to lead with them in the FEED mss, so we'll see how that pans out.  They fit in nicely with the hunger palace, with the hansel & gretel series, and the imaginary daughter poems, as well as the changeling pieces in the summer house.  It's a book that speaks very much to my life of the past 2-3 years and may be the best book I've written as a whole (though I am cursing it with that statement no