Just back from Cambridge where we had the launch of Dan Healy's excellent debut collection Winter Lines. Heffers was a great place for a launch - well attended, with an audience who really appreciated poetry. Dan's reading was excellent - complete with short, dry introductions that were exactly suited to his crisp, pared down poetry.
It's a book that deserves to sell well. Of course they all are - they're my babies, every precious one of them - and, as a mother of four in real life, I can honestly say that 52 babies and counting is a lot to feel responsible for, but it does bring a certain warm glow as well.
Being away from the desk means that things pile up so I returned to tackle the mounting slush pile of submissions to the poetry journal - Envoi. I recently did a feature on Envoi for Poetry News and worked out that we get aroudn 8,000 poems a year from around 2,000 poets. We have the space to keep about 4% of what is submitted. That's a lot of rejections. Some of the poems sent are so close to that elusive criteria of 'what I'm looking for' that I feel like an axe murderer for saying no, but the majority, sadly, are from people who never read poetry - or not since they had Humpty Dumpty read to them as infants.
There seems to be a huge, flourishing industry of therapeutic writing, which I have no doubt is a powerful tool for self discovery, expression and even healing and resolution. What seems less healthy is that bucketloads arrive at my door - twelve year olds who want to cut themselves; long term mental patients, a regular submission from a schizophrenic who has been sending me poetry for three years and insists he will not take no for an answer; a rather abusive young man in the States who emailed me ALL of his thoughts on the vileness of womankind when I wished him well with his writing.
I'm sure some of these people search out magazines for themselves, but the steep rise in such submissions leads me to wonder whether counsellors and therapists are suggesting that publication is possible as part of the process. I'll never know, but if I'm right it's an unwittingly cruel suggestion in most case - one that will only lead to rejection.
Submissions pile wrestled into shape, I can get on with some editing - the best bit :)
- Cinnamon Press
- Wales, United Kingdom
- Cinnamon Press is a small, independent publisher based in Wales & publishing the best new poetry and fiction with occassional non fiction and cross-genre titles. Books come from Wales, the UK and the world. We run writing competitions twice a year to find new voices in poetry and fiction with three categories (novel/novella; poetry; short stories) - each category has a cash prize plus publication. You can find our excellent list of titles at www.cinnamonpress.com