Photo Credit: Jennie Anne Benigas



March 2016

“…you can crawl under the barbed wire in life and scale all the brick walls of discouragement without too many bruises and without tripping up as you run the race…The whole secret of life is to know what you want, to write it down and then commit yourself to accomplish it.” Joe Girand (1921-1970), in The Quotable Artist, Peggy Hadden, Allworth Press, NY.




Crawling Under the Barbed Wire

Dear Reader,

The opening quotation caught my eye because I just finished logging onto the submissions webpage of Poetry. Three of my poems are still “active,” after nearly five months. Whew. They haven’t been moved to the “declined” column yet.

If poets manage to have work published inside Poetry’s creamy-white pages, they have earned a credit that can be cited in resumes, acknowledgements, even obituaries. In the poetry world, a telegram of affirmation has been delivered.

I have been submitting poems to Poetry for years and relish these periods of hope before rejection. I used to fantasize about tearing open the envelope and jumping up and down (which is what I did the first time a journal accepted one of my poems). These days, notification comes via a paper-saving email swish of disappointment.

I don’t write a poem just to publish it. I write it because it needs to be written. With persistence, my strong poems will find their way out into the world, perhaps even into Poetry. The level of commitment to make poems, in spite of discouragement, has stayed with me. According to Joe Girand, I‘ve learned the “whole secret of life.“ Imagine that.