Helpful Tips & Tricks for Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals

Syllabic poetry has specific rules that should always be followed when submitting your poetry to literary journals. No one likes rejections. Here are a few things that poets should watch out for:

  1. Count your syllables and the number of lines specified for the form you are writing. Then, double-check your poem before submission. Use sodacoffee.com to check syllables.
  2. Check your spelling. Most journals will not correct minor mistakes. Spelling mistakes can spell rejection.
  3. Does your poem need a title? Do your research on which forms require a title or not.
  4. Do not capitalize the first letter of each line of your poetry. Word and WordPress naturally capitalize the first word on each line, but it’s incorrect in Japanese poetry and most syllabic forms. Write your poetry like a pro… don’t capitalize!
  5. Here are the basic rules for the syllabic forms. Make sure you know how to write the forms before you submit them.

READ: Lit Mag Submissions 101

READ: Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry to learn how to write the typical syllabic poetry forms.

Finding Poetic Inspiration

I’ve had a few poets ask me about poetic inspiration. Where do you find it, and how do you go about acquiring this precious commodity?

I dedicated a section in Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry to just that subject. In my opinion, inspiration is everywhere. But not everyone feels that way.

Here are a few suggestions to find your own poetic inspiration:

  • Get outside in nature. Go for walks and observe the world around you.
  • Take notes. Keep your observations and thoughts in a notebook or in your phone.
  • Take photos. If you photograph your inspiration, you can write about how the photo captured the scene and memorialized it for that moment in time.
  • Write about your own experiences.
  • Read other poetry written by the greats and new poets.
  • Free write your thoughts for five minutes and see what inspires you.
  • Create a vision board!

Yes… create a vision board for your poetry. This is a fun exercise. If you love to take photos, create a vision board for your poem.

Vision board created with Canva.com

I used a vision board to create this haiku. I went through a bunch of photos on Canva.com for inspiration.

Things to note:

  1. Haiku are untitled.
  2. My syllable count is 3-5-3.
  3. My kigo is loud thunder—which signifies a season (really any season). It can thunder in all four seasons depending on where you live in the United States.
  4. The ending should be a surprise. This is the pivot. That is when you talk about one thing and then switch to talking about another thing. In my haiku, sunshine rain is the pivot.
  5. The pivot is where we create that juxtaposition of divergent or convergent images that compliment each other. We recognize this reaction as the “aha” moment.

We hear the thunder and see the clouds swirling. Then, the sun breaks through and the rain begins to fall. It looks like it’s raining sunshine. It’s a magical moment, one that you can remember by immortalizing it with a haiku.

We can use vision boards for many kinds of literary inspiration. Charli Mills, from Carrotranch.com, taught me how to use a vision board in her “Vision Planting” class I took with her this spring.

Charli Mills’ advice:

“Represent your vision with the tools of manifestation—use a vision board to create poetry.” @Charli_Mills #inspiration

I’ve done the work of researching these forms for you. Word Craft: Prose & Poetry is available as an Ebook and a Print book. Let’s write syllabic poetry together! ❤

I’m still having glitches with the themes on the wordcraftpoetry blog. WordPress must be doing more updates. The simpler themes seem to work better. So here I am, again… Sorry for all the switching around. This theme seems to be stable.