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“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Is it my imagination or is the pace of the poetry world increasing at an exponential rate? If I take the above quote from Alice in Wonderland and replace “go” with “publish,” that about sums up writing for me. I attribute much of this to the internet and social media. Through Twitter, I hear of 10 to 25 new (to me) literary journals a week—more than I have time to research. My writing pace hasn’t increased, and I’m not sure that my acceptance rate has, either, but the system makes it easy to send out as many simultaneous submissions as I have time to upload. It is easy to feel that I am falling behind (particularly with other poets posting acceptances on Facebook and Twitter), or falling into a trap of thinking that I can capture all that is going on in the poetry world by spending hours online. My current strategy is to view the internet as a river. I can dip into it when I need to, and it will always be there as a resource. Writing and publishing are not the same process, and the internet doesn’t need to be conquered.

To maintain a sense of balance, I write in a notebook every day, and it evolves into what it evolves into. It’s a way of staying focused and offline.


Here are my journals from last year. These are not poems but sketches, notes, lists, musings and more. If you’ve ever done Morning Pages from Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, the journals are a version of that, though closer to an art or nature journal. I resisted the idea of a formal schedule for years, but I’ve finally accepted that it is the only way I can meet all of my goals without frittering away my time. To keep myself honest, I record my progress for the day on a desk pad calendar—whether I completed the journal, drafted, edited, or submitted poems (and where). Not all jobs have to be done each day, except for the free write/journal. I experimented with pulling jobs out of a jar for a time, but I tend to fall into blocks or patterns—editing for three days, drafting for a week, submitting for two days, etc. I have several books I’m reading to help with establishing a schedule, and I’ll review those as I find good points to share. I’ve heard of writers dividing a day into two blocks marked by a noon walk, with the morning dedicated to writing and the afternoon dedicated to other projects. Artists’ retreats such as the Vermont Studio Center or the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts seem promising as a way to focus on work and build community without distractions.

If, like me, the idea of being invited into the homes of remarkable poets thousands of miles apart to hear them read their best work is an exciting prospect then you, my friend, are living in the right era. That time is now. – Robert Peake

Technology is creating so many opportunities for poets. The chance to connect in new ways through social media allows poets in very distant communities to share their voices. The Transatlantic Poetry Community is just forming with an inaugural reading and live Q & A featuring Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes on August 14th, 2013. The time is currently 8 PM BST / 3 PM EDT / Noon PDT through Google Hangout On Air. Robert Peake, an American poet living in England, is the founder of this community, which can be joined through Google+. Any poet writing in (or translating to) English from the US, UK, and Europe is welcome. Future readings will be announced through the Google+ community.

Virtual poetry meetups are also taking place on Twitter. I’ll forward news about these meetups as I hear of them through my Facebook and Twitter. These meetups are a great way to have a quick introduction to other poets and to share tips, calls for submissions, news items, and links to your latest project and website.

The opportunity to attend virtual poetry readings is a huge relief for me. One of my biggest frustrations as a writer and parent is the feeling of being geolocked. It isn’t always possible to attend every writing conference or reading that might be of interest to me, which limits my chances to meet other poets and to hear what is going on in the larger poetry world. The main reason for creating this blog is to move out of the comfort zone of my immediate geographic area and to participate in poetry in a broader way.