Submitting An Essay To The New Yorker

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It’s crucial to allow ourselves the (head)space and time to discover and develop our own voices.

In my experience, that can be very tough to do while dogged by more superficial “po-biz” preoccupations: if we believe we have to confine ourselves to a certain style or subject; if we value appearances, approval, and easy affirmation over our capacity for questioning; if we become more concerned with publication credits, prizes, and prestige than with poetry—that shows in the writing. Resist the impulse to shape or judge your work and worth as a writer according to illusory, capricious metrics—instead, hone your faculty for curiosity; learn to follow what truly interests, excites, perplexes, or pains you; put it in the poems.

To make oneself vulnerable is to take a risk, and while we obviously always want to hear a “yes,” I don’t believe that there’s anything inherently wrong with a “no”.

This sounds counterintuitive, but I try to treat rejection almost as an opportunity.

As a platform for emerging poets, our mission is to provide practical help for serious writers.

The community lifts itself up together or not at all.

It isn’t so simple, but, also, it is: write what you want to write, pursue what challenges you, remain open to possibility.

There’s no magic key, no perfect hack, to unlock poetic “success”—and if there was, would any of us really want to know it?

It’s also a common site of imprecision, confusion: I often trip over some “x is y” statement (or other construction) and get distracted wondering, well, is it?

Not literally—obviously, the point is that it’s figurative, but there should still be some truth, or some productive falseness, in it—so maybe the issue has less to do with accuracy than with purpose: not whether x is actually y, but the ways in which x could be y, or why one might suggest it; what happens in the poem, in the mind, as a result.


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