I'm not kidding about the shirt. Someone should get it for me.

This morning, I received a very welcome acceptance e-mail. Or maybe it was early afternoon. I'm on vacation and therefore not quite clear on time. It was shortly after I'd gotten up anyway, still coffee on the table and all of that, but I'm getting off the point. The point is that four of the poems from the witch manuscript (tentatively titled {no such thing}) have been accepted by the fantastic journal Willow SpringsI am very happy to say that this will be my second time in Willow Springs, as they published one of my infanticide poems several years ago. They've held a special place in my heart ever since because the poem they took was a particular favorite, and, more importantly, it was in the pages of that issue that I discovered the work of the incredibly brilliant Francesca Bell, whom I now consider a beloved friend, though I'm sure most stalkers would say that as well, so I can't speak for how it reads from her end.

In any case, four poems! I'll tell you, my acceptance ratio on Duotrope nearly doubled with that one e-mail. But, securing additional pages is one of the advantages of working in series. At burntdistrict, when we see a submission of related poems (and obviously, there are so many types of series--the recurring persona, the novel-in-verse, the thematic series...), we get pretty excited about it. There is something about spending several pages, getting a glimpse into what is clearly a larger work, that is just so, I don't know, electric. There's a sense of possibility beyond that handful of poems, and when the work is strong, it's pretty irresistible. Jen and I have been known to send the occasional acceptance e-mail that reads, "Yes. We'll take all of these, please."

The downside to trying to publish series work is that, well, not all journals are open to giving you extra pages, so the individual poems have to be able to stand alone, and often they don't. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and sometimes it's hard to get anyone interested in the individual parts. You also have to be very careful about how you put your submission together when you're sending related work. If your series is narrative, for example, it makes sense to send poems that are closely linked (like a chapter). This seems pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how few poets get this. No fiction writer, asked to send 5 sample pages, would send pages 37, 58, 72, 79, and 213. Poets, however, will send 5 completely unrelated scenes (out of order even) because there's something really interesting going on with the line-breaks*. Ugh, poets. Can I tell you how much I want this shirt?

*It should be noted that I'm not excluding myself from this criticism. I have totally, totally done this.