Week Six, Day Two

willowsprings.ewu.edu   is the website for Willow Springs Magazine. I went there and read three poems by James Kimbrell, who has published with them. They are good, but nothing like I write. There goes another potential market. Two bad. They’re the ones that pay $20 per poem.

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Looking at a Chapbook Contest, I see a poet named Danielle Beazer won last year. I google her name with the word poetry after it and find six of her poems online. Her poems don’t all rhyme, but they do tell stories.

The deadline for this contest is June 30. “postmarked”. Today is June 28. Do I have 16 to 20 poems to submit?

I went through my folder of poems looking for some that would go with the theme “animals”. How many do I have already written?

I have 23 poems that would be about one theme that I could submit for this contest. I’ll go through them and select 16 to 20 and submit tomorrow.

The name of the contest is Anabiosis Press Chapbook Contest. They also want biography, table of contents and acknowledgements for previous publications.

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Biography? Does that mean when I was born? Parents? Education? Work History? Any Marriages? Children? I guess I didn’t stop to think exactly what a biography entails. I just started writing about myself and included things I thought someone interested in my writing might want to know. I hope they don’t look at my biography and think “she can’t even do this right!” and not look at my poems.

Here is my biography:

Biography of Constance Barr Corbett
As a child I would write short verses for my mother. I loved the way words worked together and found that poetry was a way I could express myself.
As I grew older, I continued to write. I had a notebook filled with my poems that a boyfriend found and read. “You could sell some of these,” he told me. He even bought me my first Writer’s Market. To prove him wrong and to make him stop nagging me, I sent off two of my poems. They both sold. “Laments of an Old Cat” was published in Cats Magazine (and also later in The Morris Report). “To My Friend, George” was published in Alcoholism, The National Magazine.
I married and had three children. I stayed home with my children when they were young and continued to write during their nap times. Dennis Rogers, a columnist with The News and Observer, used many of my letters (anecdotes) to him in his Letters and Left-over column that he published each Friday. I also published more poems. An article of mine titled “Helping Hands Are Learning Hands” won third place at The Readers Digest convention in Columbia South Carolina one year. My short story, “Beware of a Good-Natured Wife” won honorable mention in Beta Sigma Phi’s International Short Story Contest. I had an article about “How to Find Homes for Kittens” published in “the Morris Report”. The Morris Report published several of my poems as well. Sleuthhound Magazine published my poem “The Yorkshire Terrier’s Tale”. 2AM Magazine published my poem “Slumberlost”. Writer’s Gazette published my poem “Characters”. Grit published “Old Atlas”. There were probably others as well.
While all this writing and getting published was going on, I separated, went through a horrible divorce and found myself raising three children alone. I still wrote, but had little time to look for publishers.
Now my children are grown and I’ve turned my attention back to writing. I even have a blog at WordPress called “Constance As A Writer” constancebarrcorbett.wordpress.com
I also went to graduate school at UNCW to get a Masters Degree in Language and Literacy. While there I took an elective writing course. My instructor kept me behind one night and I thought she was going to tell me I was out of my element and to drop the class. Instead she told me I needed to find an agent.
I still haven’t found an agent, but I have continued to write. I also had to continue to work full-time to support my children. At one time I had three of them in college at the same time.
I was a school teacher. Much of my time was spent teaching reading to struggling readers. For three years I taught Reading Recovery. Later I was a Reading Intervention teacher. Other times I taught First Grade, Preschool, First Grade/Second Grade combination, Fifth Grade . . .
Now I am semi-retired and spending much of my time writing and looking over what I have written over the years. I find I need to spend time seeking markets more than I need to spend time writing. I have over 150 articles already written. That doesn’t include the short stories, poems and books I’ve worked on.

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I see they also want acknowledgement of previous publications. I guess I covered much of that in my biography. Should I change my biography to be just about where and when I was born? Education? Marriages? Children? I could go to wikipedia and look at those biographies to get an idea.

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Table of Contents . . . hmmmm . . . what order should I put these poems in? (I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. I don’t care.)

There’s one poem about a cricket. There’s a poem about birds. Most are about my pets. Or imagined scenarios of my pets, like The Yorkshire Terrier’s Tale . . . I did have a dog (two of them actually) named Honey. One was a Yorkshire Terrier. But she never caught a burglar. Other poems about my pets are true incidents, like Conrad’s Chair. (Why has no one bought that poem? It’s one of my favorites, but then I see it happening in my mind as I read it. There are no illustrations.) I could do alphabetical order, but I want my very, very best ones first so that they at least get read while the reader is “fresh”. Ok. I’ll go from best to worst and change up which kind of creature is written about so that all my dog poems aren’t together. I would think that might make them less impressive and possibly border on boring.

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Oh, boy . . . I got an email from a magazine saying they were closed to submissions, but would reopen in about a week and to resubmit my poem at that time.

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Went to the post office and bought stamps while my son was here to give me a ride. I called the mechanic and my car may have an expensive repair. He is going to start on it and see how much it’s going to cost and call me if it reaches a certain amount before he goes any farther. I need the stamps to be sure I can mail my poems to the contest tomorrow.

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I’ve worked hard this day! I went through all my poems and chose the ones about animals and pets. Then after I had 19 of them, I thought about other poems I’ve written . . . some that might be better than some of the animal poems. And I printed those out. I wrote a biography, although it was mostly about my writing life. I made a list of published works and was surprised at how much I’ve published. I wrote a cover letter. Tomorrow I will go back through all the poems I printed out, choose the ones that seem the best and send them off to the chapbook contest.

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