Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Writing Books and Magazines Often Neglect Poetry

I subscribe to Poets & Writers.  I used to subscribe to other writing magazines, but find most content doesn't apply to me as a poet.  The Writer used to have one column bimonthly about poetry, but dropped it.  Writer's Digest offers a new poetic form every issue... something readily available online.

Craft books said to be for "every writer" often skim over (or even skip) poetry and poets.  Books and articles on marketing and promotion for writers focus on nonfiction writers and novelists.  There are a few books on the poet's craft specifically, but most are dense and technical... and more than twenty years old.

I can't tell you how many times I've purchased (or borrowed) the "hottest book about writing" only to be disappointed.  A book released last summer promised a special section on poetry, the author even stating during the development process she was hard at work on that spot in particular.  I bought it, though I have little money to devote to my craft, waiting to read it.  Guess what?  Nothing!  Not even a whole page on poem crafting, marketing as a poet...

There will be some overlap in genres for marketing and branding.  But poets, especially poets without a collection out (like me), won't get much out of it.  Blogging about my protagonist's interests (for example) won't work, though poetic themes might.

It never hurts to know how to write better in another genre, but poetry is a different beast than a novel.  Poets have fewer rules, but more complex considerations.  I can get away with zero punctuation, but must have a coherent answer as to why I didn't use any, though I may never be asked to explain.

If magazines about writing are loathe to really engage and cover poetry, what hope is there for current, entertaining information that applies to poets outside of academia?  Must we dust off books from decades past that bore?  Or are there bright spots (probably online) shimmering just out of sight?  I think my poetic salvation will come from blogs, they'll just take a while to find.

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