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Trifecta

Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. It’s hard to keep submitting work for publication when everything comes back “thanks but no thanks.” And then suddenly comes acceptance of not one but three poems at the same time! In the same journal! Thank you, thank you Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. for publishing “Artic Fever,” “Still With Us,” and “Bathtub Buddha” in your May issue. It’s enough to make me keep on writing, keep on submitting.

Bathtub Buddha
By Sally Zakariya

Watching the water swirl down
     the drain
I think of Australia –
does it really circle the other way
in the southern hemisphere
left hand one way, right hand
the other?


Do the gyres cancel each other out
when they collide at the equator
clogging the drain
     bathwater rising
a flood of soap and bubbles
bathing the earth?

No it can’t be – the world
is too steeped in dirt and grime
to be cleansed so easily.
Even the rain that showers down
     from Heaven
can’t wash the stains clean
without help from our tears.

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Speaking of submission …

What was good advice in 2014 is still good advice today. Cruising through calls for submission recently, I happened on a piece by poet Katie Manning , who, when she’s not writing herself is teaching others to write at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Manning’s good advice is straightforwardly titled How to Submit Poems for Publication.

In sections called 1) find literary journals, 2) follow directions, 3) cover letters matter [sort of], 4) keep good records, and 5) keep submitting, Manning gives a quick course in the art of getting your poems out there and in print or online.

“If you’re not one of those rare, lucky poets who have poems accepted on the first try, don’t worry,” she writes. “Most of us took a long time to get a first poem published, and sometimes even well-published poets have dry spells. Submitting poetry can be discouraging, but keep doing it.” Words to live by. After all, as Manning observes, it’s a numbers game. The more you submit, the more likely you’ll get one of those good-news acceptance emails.

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There’s still time

If you’ve been meaning to order my forthcoming chapbook Personal Astronomy but haven’t gotten around to it, never fear. The chapbook is slated for publication in mid-August, and there’s still time to reserve your copy. The poems “express a stargazer’s wonderment, doubt and acceptance of the extraordinary grounded in an ordinary life,” says one reviewer. Another calls the collection “a poetic journey into the microcosm of love and relationship juxtaposed against the backdrop of the universe in poems that are as lucid and ordered as the constellations they invoke.” Buy a copy and the stars will shine on you.

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Coming Soon(ish)

My forthcoming chapbook “Personal Astronomy” is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. I’d like to think people will enjoy the poems inside, and I’m hoping they’ll like the cover illustration as well. It’s a detail from a star chart by Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826) showing the constellation Andromeda. (That’s her, reclining among the stars.) When I first mentioned "Personal Astronomy". here a couple of months ago, I included a poem that will be in the chapbook, “Constellations.” Poet Dianne Silvestri responded with a poem of her own. (Dianne, by the way, wrote the charming “Summer Treasure” in Joys of the Table..) “Since you invited correspondence,” she wrote me, “I am drawn to send you a poem of mine I recently resurrected which I thought of as I read your ‘Constellations.’”

August Midnight
By Dianne Silvestri

The ranger locked the gate
at sundown, our group inside
to camp at Bluffton Game Preserve.

We unrolled sleeping bags
like planks to bridge the road,
lay wide-eyed to observe

unobstructed midnight sky
of August set to astound us
with one shooting star after another,

all sites on the map overhead
firing meteors in rapid succession.
No one died while asleep

in the middle of that asphalt.
When we awoke the next morning,
in fact, we were all more alive. 

Dianne Silvestri, author of the chapbook Necessary Sentiments, has poems published in Zingara Poetry Review, Poetry South, The Main Street Rag, The Examined Life Journal, The Worcester Review, The Healing Muse, Inscape, THEMA, American Journal of Nursing, and elsewhere. A past Pushcart nominee, she is copyeditor of the journal Dermatitis and leads the Morse Poetry Group in Massachusetts.

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Ten Words

Dianne writes that she “resurrected” her poem, which got me thinking of all the old, dead lines I’ve buried in the depths of my computer. Once, for a while, two friends and I played a poetry game involving ten words. We’d take turns each month choosing words at random from whatever book or magazine lay nearby and then we’d each come up with a poem that included at least seven of the words in some form or other. Here’s one I wrote more than a decade ago, drawing from the following words: lantern, drag, dimension, scowl, thaw, reserve, inquiry, docent, copper, and capillary.

Insomnia, 4 AM

The end of the world comes when you’re awake
the dark clamor, the rush of wings,
the taste of copper in your throat,
the jagged wire of dread dragged
through your veins and capillaries.

You don’t get to sleep through this.
The moon may hang a jaunty lantern
outside your window, but you see the scowl
on its face, you grasp the sheer dimension
of the final freeze.

No welcome thaw to come. No cozy sleep.
Not even dreams of sleep.
When the end of the world comes
you will still be awake.

We didn’t come up with great stuff, but it was interesting to see what different directions the same batch of words inspired us to take. Try it and you’ll see.

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From the Recipe Box

A recipe box is a little history not just of dishes you love but also of the people who taught you how to make them. Take dessert: Even though I try to stay away from cakes and pies these days, that wasn’t always the case. Flipping through the recipes in my box brings family members and old friends sweetly to mind. My thanks to the Mississippi University for Women for including this poem in the Fall 2017 issue of Ponder Review:

Their Desserts
By Sally Zakariya

Robin, who couldn’t hide her innocence, maker of poppy
seed cake, unhappy in love, leaning toward the nunnery
last I heard

Jeanne of the freckles and flaming orange hair, never quite
one of our group and remembered mostly for her
carrot cake

Willie, practical Midwesterner who did it all a year ahead
and better, who served flaky almond pastry from her
Dutch forebears

friends and family all filed together in the old recipe box
under Cakes and Cookies along with others -- Mother’s
there of course

no baker, still we relished her peach skillet pie and apple
goodie, sweet memories neatly recorded in her own left-
leaning hand

Nancy, too, big sister who settled into a domesticity I envied
but failed to emulate (I never make her pecan pie but savor
the recipe)

and you, Aunt Betty, your spice cake topped with tangy lemon
sauce deserves a poem of its own, warm and pungent, starting
with the same

simple stuff as all the rest -- flour, butter, sugar, eggs
-- but how various the cooks, how various their desserts

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Man Overboard

I’m always delighted to see new work by poets I know, even if I only know them through publishing. Case in point: Michael H. Levin, whose delicious poem “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (after the movie by the same name) appeared in Joys of the Table. Levin’s new collection, Man Overboard, is now available for preorder from Finishing Line Press.

“Michael Levin’s poems are a captivating collection of dramatic slices of life netted over the course of decades,” writes one critic, and another adds, “Levin’s poetry circumnavigates the globe like a time-traveling Indiana Jones and sticks a shiny fork deep into earth’s volcanic heart.”

The title poem, which first appeared in Poetica Magazine, tells a tragic story with Levin’s characteristic economy and Imagination

Man Overboard
(C.G.R., d. 2004)

By Michael H. Levin

Dark head bobbing in a chevron wake
disconnected as the space surged
you slipped through the O
of our grasp.

Cool as Wisconsin, you forgot
safe dreams are toxic, that fear is how we fly --
stood off, maneuvering. We scan your log now
seeking its theme.

Cold virtues are an ancient curse --
they reek of Artemis and Mimë.
To wall one’s heart with denial, is to
starve the self away.

Our saving grace is to open
like glories; for openness is all
the earth we have, we dots on the
sliding gray plates

of a following sea.

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Bon Appetit

Don’t forget to “Like” our Joys of the Table Facebook page. And check back often! We’re adding poems and recipes from time to time and would love to hear from you.

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What Are You Writing?

Why should we get all the bylines? Submit your latest poem—just one for now—and we’ll publish the poems we like best in an upcoming blog post. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if the poem is accepted or published elsewhere. Send your poem, plus a few lines about yourself, in the body of an e-mail message to:
poetryeditor@RicherResourcesPublications.com

 

You Are Here

Welcome to But Does it Rhyme?
We're a small, but hopefully growing, band of poets who like to talk about our craft and share what we've written. We'll highlight favorite poets, review new books, and explore the process of writing poetry from inspiration to conclusion. (We might venture into essays and short fiction, too.) We hope you'll like our blog — and contribute your own thought and poems.

Sally Zakariya, Poetry Editor
Richer Resources Publications

Charan Sue Wollard (LivermoreLit)
Kevin Taylor (Poet-ch'i)
Sherry Weaver Smith (SherrysKnowledgeQuest)

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