Why Brag About Publishing a Poem?

Bragging is not something that comes naturally to some of us — then there are those who do it all the time and drive the rest of us up a tree.  So it doesn’t go without saying that you should brag about every poem that you publish. For some, it may seem ostentatious. After all, a poem is a page, maybe two or three, so getting a page published might not seem like such a big deal to fiction writers who publish maybe 15-30 pages at a shot. But a published poem is a publication, and there are several reasons I’ll post about it on social media (which feels like bragging).

  1. First and foremost, every post about a magazine is like a little ad for that magazine. I want people to know where I’m publishing. I want to them to go out and read and support the magazine. Maybe someone will buy a copy or maybe someone will visit the site and ignore the ads (if there are ads). I want people to read my work, but I also want people to see the other writers in that magazine and read them, too.
  2. I’m a professor, so I want my students to see that I’m publishing and where I’m publishing it. We should always try to be good examples for our students, and we should let them know that publishing doesn’t magically happen. We also have to work at it, so every publication counts.
  3. I work hard at writing and publishing, so I deserve to let people know. “Black Racer,” the poem that was published this week in Valley Voices had been turned down by four other journals. That’s a pretty good response rate. Often a poem has been to more before ever getting accepted. “A Necessary Lie” was accepted on its 8th trip out the door in two and a half years (I don’t do many simultaneous submissions, so it can take awhile). “The intergalactic traveler makes a Kroger run” got accepted by the first journal. That’s rare.
  4. Both of these were picked up by Juke Joint, a great online magazine I’ve been sending to for a couple of years, and each time I’ve gotten rejection letters with encouraging comments — until now, when half my submission (2 poems) was accepted. Again, that’s a pretty good track record, so why not celebrate?
  5. Celebrating the successes, even when that is a poem here and there, keeps you honest. It’s a reminder that as great as it feels to have your work in print, there is still more work to be done: more poems to write, more poems to submit, more rejections to catalogue and more acceptances to hope for.
  6. For every success, countless poems are returned to us. Poets and writers know the odds at most journals are stacked against us. Posting about our successes serves as a reminder to ourselves and to other writers that those successes do happen.

Do I want you to think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread when I post about a poem that has been published in a magazine? Of course not. I know there are many more imporant things in the world. But if it gives someone the incentive to read or if it gives someone else the incentive to keep sending out their work, then it’s worth it.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

2 thoughts on “Why Brag About Publishing a Poem?

  1. For new poets , it makes the task a bit intimidating. Creativity should not be something opportunistic. Thanks for the view.

    1. Yes, it can be intimidating to send your work out. It can be a long process, and the hope is to encourage each other. Even those of us who have been publishing for many years have poems returned to us more often than not. I hope it helps to see some of the process.

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