Poetry Tips & Prompts
By Marilyn L. Taylor
A couple of common courtesies (more important than they seem) to remember when you’re submitting your poems to journals:
Always remember that submitting a group of poems is much like going for a job interview. First impressions do make a difference. Neatness does count.
Consider using a slightly heavier, stationery-quality stock (but keep it completely unadorned—no designs, no illustrations!) for your submission. This is not essential, by any means, but it comes across as a nicely subtle gesture.
Avoid using 8-1/2 x 11 envelopes. They will end up at the bottom of a tall stack of business-size ones, and might increase your wait for a response.
Put two stamps instead of one on the envelope if you’re sending a group of 5 or 6 poems, especially if you’re using that slightly heavier stock. At least you’ll be reasonably certain that your submission will get to its destination, and it will give the subliminal impression that its safe arrival is important to you.
Be sure to affix those stamps neatly. It may sound silly, but stamps haphazardly plastered on an envelope can create a negative impression, like showing up at an important interview with a shirt-tail hanging out.
*Write an opposite poem; that is, choose a poem on opposite subject matter than you'd EVER write and then write your poem, choosing the opposite of each term as it comes up.
*Write a poem about seven of anything.
*Write a poem about where you'll vacation in the afterlife.
*Write a poem about the first time you did anything.
*Write a poem imagining/describing/outright lying about one of your relatives meeting someone famous.
*Write a poem full of lies.
*Write a poem about the day you were born.
*Write a poem in first person describing the functions of one body part/organ—remember that Reader's Digest column, “I Am Joe’s Spleen”?