When I started writing poetry regularly, I also started to submit my poems. This started in the mid-1990s. At first I sent them out to mainly print publications, but a few months after doing this I started sending out poems to online publications, commonly referred to as ‘zines. It was in ‘zines that I first started to get my poems published. One of the places I was published was Stirring: A Literary Collection. I also submitted to other ‘zines at Sundress. I somehow–and to be honest, I am not sure how, but I think it started with the online poetry slams–got to know some of the editors at Sundress. I also did a little editing while there.
Today I still read the published material at Sundress publications. I also read other online ‘zines. I read Poetry Magazine. But a lot of my poetry reading is done online and maybe that is because I don’t study poetry as I am in a composition and rhetoric program. But that is probably just an excuse.
Really, the last book of poetry I read was from the Best American Poetry series, which I have heard from my MFA friends garners a lot of flack. I have always liked these collections because of their variety of voices. I confess I don’t like to read a book of poems by a singular author in one sitting. I’ll often read a few poems, put the collection down, and read another. So If I do go to the library to get some poetry, I will grab a few collections by different authors.
The last book I recall reading by one author is Ted Kooser’s Flying at Night. Even though his poems are metaphorical and I don’t tend to write poems in a metaphorical style, I enjoyed his collection. What I liked was the rural nature of the poetry, the quiet small town feel, and the elation of being alone. If you read Kooser, you can tell he is a private person and enjoys his time in solitude. His poems demonstrate this tendency well. In that sense, I could relate to his poems. And I suppose we all want to read something we can relate to because when we read something personally familiar to us, it is almost as if we are touching or caught in an embrace with that writer. It becomes tangible, even though there is miles of space between ourselves and the writer. But that is the power of art, proximal and full.