We're British in this house, we don't really do boasting very well. But I've got a lot to boast about at the moment, which is highly unusual, so I've made a boasting folder. I entered three poems into the Plough Prize this year: Ghost Walk and Swimming with my Sister were longlisted and Crime Scene was shortlisted. Better than that, a previous winner, Patricia Ace, was long- and shortlisted alphabetically above me in the lists. As in, Patricia Ace, published by Happenstance. I love her stuff. And CJ Allen also published, also shortlisted (OK, twice). I'm sandwiched between published poets. In fact, loads of people on the lists are published in magazines or chapbooks or even their own collections. Why not me?
When I was doing the MA, one very talented student used to rant on how difficult it is to get a novel published. So I asked them (humbly) how many had they written? How many rejections from agents and publishers had they had? Answer - zero. They weren't even going to bother to write because what's the point? You only get rejected anyway. That's what I'm doing about poetry. I'm so convinced my work will get rejected I don't put it out there. So I'm giving myself the same advice I tried to give this writer - write and you get better. The more work you put out there, the more likely you are to get noticed. I read somewhere, committed writers are most likely to get their fourth book published - that means they had the commitment to write three duds first, all the way through.
So I need to send my poetry out - where's the harm? Most of them are the price of a stamp or an email. I'm declaring Wednesday 'send poetry out' day. Then I can put something new in my boasting book.