Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Chapbook

While going through literary reviews to submit some of my work to, I came across contests for poetry chapbooks. I must be completely honest, though I had a vague idea of what a chapbook was (a dull memory of my senior course, Renaissance Prose and Poetry, comes to mind) I had no idea why it would be necessary for modern literary purposes. But since reading up on them they are a good precursor to a first book of poetry. Also, if you enter a poetry chapbook contest and win, it helps bolster your resume of work by having it published. One chapbook contest in particular is being conducted by Finishing Line Press. The deadline is February 2010 and they require that you submit 26 pages of poetry, along with a brief bio, acknowledgements, SASE, and cover letter. The reading fee is $15. I chose this contest to begin with because it was entitled 2010 New Women's Voice Chapbook Conpetition. Like literary reviews, you try to rifle through and find a contest that best suits or would most likely publish your material.

I am sure that I have 26 pages of poetry but I need my poems to tell a story; be cohesive. In order to do this I began by brainstorming potential chapbook titles. By brainstorming a title that best suits a majority of my poems, I can better narrow what needs to be in the chapbook and what doesn't. So far, I've come up with four titles that I really like: Girl Meets Woman, Cataloguing Fear & Other Fly-By-Nights, Touching a Man, and Love's Residue.

Most of my poems have a certain female character who is trying to maintain control of her relations whether familial, platonic, or sexual. To maintain control, I've developed, subconsciously, a woman who has become an inspiration and likewise my muse. She's a dominant voice that when I write is tapped almost effortlessly. She owns every statement she makes, pitches them fast at your head; will you duck, flinch or stand and absorb them? She is a Goddess. I often refer to her in the title of the poems as Muse, but I've been thinking lately that I ought to give her a name. But what would I call her? Perhaps She, Noir(a), perhaps Lilith. Maybe she is better without a name, better if she remain an illusion, no one live to cling to.

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