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David S Taub

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Where will your poetry take you? - part 7 of 9 part series.
by David S Taub

Friday, June 21, 2002

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Where will you take your poetry?- Where will your poetry take you?
(Part 7 of 9)

One of the things I look for in a publication (be it Hard-copy or 'ezine/webzine') is how it comes across to the reader - the magazine's 'attitude' and 'house-style' Of course, the quality and content are very important to me, but some magazines have that 'high-brow, aloof arrogance' about them - an almost superior, intimidating attitude, as if to say, "What! you were never educated to PhD standards? And you dare to browse through me!?"

Please don't misunderstand me, though. I am not for one minute suggesting that academic achievements and superiority complexes are synonymous. For those readers who follow my column in the English hard-copy magazine, Poetry Now, they will recall me making my 'poetical position' quite clear.
In my regular 2 page column called "Spreading the Words" (Poetry Now, Summer 1998 issue 26), I wrote:

"Now added to the two geographical 'worlds' - England and America - within each there are what some see as two 'poetic worlds'. Namely the 'official academic' poetry world and then the world of 'non-academic' poetry. It is easy to become entrenched in the world which each of us most strongly identify with, and then dismiss the other. Sadly, many of those in one often go beyond dismissal and develop strong scornful and disdainful attitudes toward the other.

The seemingly never-ending accusations and exchanges between the more bigoted of each world continue with "Unless you have been 'properly' University educated, you can't be deemed a poet - worthy of the craft", and "Academic education does not make a poet - it simply produces sterile verbiage!" As if that were not sufficient, there are also the two 'factions' of Free-verse poetry and Rhyming poetry. I never much liked politics and 'factions' preferring, instead, to find common ground and respect for conflicting opinions. And in spite of me personally not originating from the 'University educated poetry world', my love of all things poetical, combined with an insatiable curiosity, leads me to explore both 'worlds' and all the 'factions' within. I also hold to the saying 'Don't throw out the baby with the bath-water', for there are babies in both tubs!"

As well as exploring the many 'worlds and factions' of poetry, I try and incorporate into my column, 'useful snippets' of information for those who want to stretch their poetic boundaries.

For those of you who have not read any of my articles in other publications, I confess I am a compulsive networker, as much as I am a writer and poet. I find something exciting in linking readers and publishers to one another. Fortunately, my wife, k.t. Frankovich, is a professional writer and networker too. Fortunate, that is, for me, but perhaps not so fortunate for readers of poetry and literary magazines who are desperately trying to avoid the Taub-Frankovich duo! And If you think fleeing to another continent will help, I have to remind you that it was my writing/networking compulsion that led me to leave the shores of England, not once but twice, to meet and be mentored by k.t. The rumours that I was extradited by the British Poetry Police are wholly unfounded!

Now the sort of poetry/literary magazines you are highly unlikely to ever find work of mine and my wife's (k.t. Frankovich) in, are those ones who follow the current fashion of 'profound' poetry. You know the sort I mean. Chopped prose with words that require extensive word searches in Thesauruses (or should it be Thesauri ?) The sort of poems that everyone nods knowingly at, in revered whispers, mostly because they have absolutely no idea just what the 'poet' is trying to convey. The sort that if you 'challenge' the 'poet' to explain what on earth he/she is on about they bristle in irritation, muttering obscure references to works of other 'profound contemporary poets'. Inevitably the challenger backs down when the 'poet' waves a copy of a glossy book that was funded by a grant for 'Profound poets and poetry'.

In other words, I believe poetry should be 'accessible' and not a pawn in the 'snobbery-literati' game that some play. Time and again I am asked by readers via letters, email and online, "How do I develop and broaden my writing?"

One of the first steps I advise them to take, assuming the writer is serious about developing and establishing themselves as a poet / writer, is to try and subscribe to ideally 3 or 4 different publications. Ultimately, to try and subscribe to at least one publication outside their country, in addition to one in their own country. It really is not as costly as it may first sound. The reasons that people subscribe to and/or submit work to publications, vary greatly. It may be a casual hobby or a long term serious attempt to become recognised as a reputable poet. You will hear time and again, from folks who want to earn an income, "There's no money in poetry." That is not strictly true ! For those who persevere and become good at what they do there are GENUINE poetry competitions with $ prizes. Similarly, I am aware of a number of publications who do pay contributors, and it seems that more recently, newer publications have the genuine intention to grow their publication in such a manner that, when they become profitable, will pay their contributors. A step further, and there are real 100% genuine publishing contracts to be had, including ones with 'advance royalty payments'. That arena is a slightly different ball-game where you need to make sure that, not only is your work of a high standard, but that you can work to deadlines, understand and adhere to contract clauses, and put into practice all the other 'tips' I have shared with you in my previous articles in this 'series'.

I have become very cynical towards those claiming themselves 'pure artists that would not prostitute their creativity for cash', because a writer and artist has as much right and need to earn a living as does anybody else!

Copyright David Taub (UKpoet.aol.com), 1999

First written for Internet poetry magazine: Issue 7, 1999

Due to appear as a series in "Florida Palm" (Florida Writers' Association membership magazine), 2002

David Taub is a member of
The British organisation 'National Union of Journalists' (NUJ);
The Florida Writers' Association;
Columnist for the UK magazine 'Poetry Now';
Freelance writer for various UK and USA magazines;
Co-author of Language of Souls (listed on amazon.com)
Website: www.ukpoet.cjb.net


Part 7 of a 9 part series

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Reviewed by Smita Tewari 10/19/2009
It's a real pity that you are no longer writing, David! At, least for personal satisfaction, you should have continued!
With so much of talent and potential of a great writer!
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 6/22/2002
Nice writings, and great information! Thank you for sharing!

Sandie Angel :o) / May Lu $*_*$
Reviewed by Lori Moore 6/22/2002
Thank you again.
Reviewed by Tomas Ughdair (Reader) 6/22/2002
Hi David,
Very interesting and well thought out article
When I was in business(even less profitable than monthly magazines, that always seemed to go out of business just after they had collected the subscription)
If what I required to sell,was not dumped on my doorstep,rather than listen for hours to reps trying to sell me what I did not want.
I would go out and find it,presumably the same happens in your business,so one can safely assume,that if a authors work is not snapped up immediately, it has little merit and no commercial value.
Just a thought.
Morchuis
Reviewed by jude forese 6/22/2002
the real rewards of writing poety is sharing thoughts... cash is rare to get and really not that important in the creative scheme of things... good write...
Reviewed by Peter Benson 6/21/2002
Couldn't give you top marks because I understood every word without needing to go to a tea,no tesseract,no thesathing; anyway that word list comparison whatsit, and if I didn't have that need you can't be a real poet now can? **smirks** Peter
Reviewed by Linda Hill 6/21/2002
Very informative write...Thank u!
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