Tuesday, April 12, 2005

That Perfect Submission Letter

File Under: Handy Writing Tip.

Few aspects of the poetry game are as
daunting as that pesky submission letter.
Should one make an effort to personalize
it? What information should I include or
leave out? Well, it just so happens that your
humble crow has been in correspondence
with various editors at The New Yorker,
The Atlantic and POETRY. Each publication
has its own preferences... I've taken the trouble
to gel together elements from their
suggestions thus producing the ideal
submission letter.

(A note on the text: due to my own limitations
with the format, I am not able to block out
the sheet and provide sufficient letterhead.
Obviously, the submission letter should be
on a 3 X 4 or so sheet of stationery. One's own
letterhead is of course a matter of taste.)

The Submission Letter to End All Submission Letters
(of yours being considered by an editor of verse)

Bryan Newbury
Established 1977
Thank you for considering my poetry.
Due to my large number of submissions
lately, I am unable to pen a submission
letter to each individual publication. Given
my small staff (which is, as it turns out,
myself) and the numerous simultaneous
submissions of mine out there, no doubt
you'll understand. I can assure you that
I have personally affixed each stamp,
and that I have taken great pains to
workshop and revise each poem herein.
I thank you for your continued support.

The beauty of this format is that you can
take it to the local printer and run off a few
hundred. Should a new publication arise,
you needn't research the names or titles
of potential readers. An added benefit is
that this is most surely a professional
way to handle it. Starting your own publication
is a huge plus, as you can plug special
National Poetry Month subscription rates
to the reader.
As a consideration to the author, please
wait about six to eight weeks before
employing this SuperLetter. I have three
poems floating around using it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Good, The Bad, And The "Awww Jesus, They Didn't Did They?"

Alright. The one thing one can find in April
5's election here in Kansas that comes somewhat
close to resembling a silver lining is the
duality. (This is from the perspective of
Lawrence. The rest of the state... I just
don't know.)

Yes, Kansans that bothered to vote on this
off-year April ballot overwhelmingly passed
an amendment to the state constitution
that NOT ONLY banned gay marriage
(wish someone would have thought to get
a civil union law put on the books!) but
also threw in NO civil unions, NO legal
protections, and pretty much legalized
bigotry. Canonized it, actually.

Naturally, Douglas County (Lawrence, &c.)
voted overwhelmingly against this
religious horseshit. We also kept a Progressive
majority on the council, for what that's worth...

Oregon, are you accepting
applications for Lawrence to
be part of your state? There's
a commute issue, but we'd be
like your Hawaii! We will NOT
change the basketball mascot
to a Rainbow Warrior, though.

So, my state of birth and residence has
yet another black mark on it, thanks to
a group of religious fuckwits. By that,
I mean the leadership. Let me provide
an anecdote as illustration:

Today I was in the yard playing my mandolin.
A stunning rendition of "Darling Cora" as I
remember. My neighbor, a darling man of
87 years, surfaced in his yard. It had just
rained, so gardening work would have to
wait. (He has a thumb greener than my
politics and is very giving with produce.)

On two occasions he'd queried my wife and
I on our relationship with Jesus. These two
included a Baptist minister. (I love the
guy, and anyone who would judge him for
this is in the same camp as the aforementioned
fuckwits; however, this was a bit
unsettling when one considers the signed
"Cosmopolitan Greetings" print front and
center in the living room and the numerous
Buddhas and Kuan Yins hanging out in the
house. Further thought: for anything
pertaining to religious conversions by
those close to you please refer to THE
GOURDS and their wonderful song "Lament.")

An understanding was reached, and though
Christianity is bound to enter conversations,
there is no prodding from him one way
or the other.

Fundamentally (pardon the pun) he is a great
person and a wonderful illustration of what
Christianity should look like.

I'll be moving soon, so I thought it'd be a
nice thing to sit down and visit with him
while I'm still in this house. Played a few
reels on the mandolin and we talked about
The Dust Bowl, farming, what size our new
garden would be, life on the other side
of the river and such. After an hour or two
I had to go.

As I tied up my WhiteonWhite Chucks, I
saw his car on the garage had a bumper
sticker on it. It was an endorsement for
the Kansas marriage amendment.

At first, there was some sense of betrayal.
"God, I know the guy. Never pegged him
for a bigot."

Upon further rumination, I found that the
reason I hadn't was because he wasn't. What
he was was a parishoner at a Baptist church.
In a year of knowing him, we've never
discussed anything political. For this one issue,
he has a bumper sticker no doubt provided
at his church, or at least from it.

I don't know exactly how many times this
story could be repeated across the state, but
I'd wager the number is large. The
churches are influencing (steering, really)
public policy. Rather blatantly at that.

So, my friends, I propose that it is well past
time we tax religion, and tax it heavily.
Who's with me on this?

There's the bad and the "Awww, Jesus."
(Cue whistle from spaghetti western.)

Now, the good: I got free hockey tickets
for myself and some friends. Free.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Nowadays It Does Pay To Be A Good Ol' Boy

Some excitement. Steve Earle is gracing
the Liberty Hall stage in humble
Lawrence, Kansas. (I am beginning a
campaign locally to enact the official
slogan: Lawrence, Kansas -- Good Vibes
Capital of the World!)

This occurs while being uprooted to some
extent. Usually we move from, say, Aroostook
County, Maine to Morgan County, Georgia.
Or Lincoln to Carlsbad, &c. But there's something
about Lawrence. So now we find ourselves
crossing the Bridge and heading into
East Larry, only a few blocks from the
aforementioned Liberty Hall. I may accidentally
develop something resembling a social
life. I shall attempt not to, but people are
gregarious here.

I say this for inspirational purposes: we also
found a place with twice the space for less
money. This is quite the renting coup in our
real estate landscape.

Also, found a great copy of POETRY from
January of 1959 (The Indian issue, kicked
off by Rabindranath Tagore) at the library
book sale. And a copy of "mishaps, perhaps"
by Carl Solomon for all off $0.75.

Satisfaction level high.

I am still disillusioned with what is transpiring
within the American verse world. But, as they
say, fuck it. No need to look for a complaint.

Considering it is snowing on A.D., I haven't
any complaints. Dogwood allergies are
a small price to pay!