• Lesley Wheeler

    You’re definitely singing my song here! I often think about how many READERS as well as writers are middle-aged women–and I, for one, like to read not only about people from different cultures and generations, but also specifically about women navigating middle age, because it’s a difficult and interesting passage.

    August 31, 2018
  • “If you are a publisher or editor, think about your gatekeepers – if they’re all 22, that might be affecting what gets past them, because at 22, you feel 30 is old – and that gives you a different worldview than someone, say, in their fifties.” Another issue with young first readers is inexperience, which also tend to dumb down what appeals. Years ago, I received a note from a first reader—and it is always, well almost always nice to receive a handwritten note—who complained that the point of view in my story was not authentic for a child. I stared at this complaint for a long time. That was why I wrote the story in third person rather than first person, so I never submitted to that journal again.

    August 31, 2018
  • Try 80 and a male with an ancient MFA from Eastern Washington University who made his living as a computer controlled machinist. Survived a high risk prostate cancer that began a little over two years ago. Got a book of poetry out of my illness that is simultaneously at contests at Pittsburg Press and Iowa. Wouldn’t it be nice at 80 to make a little splash in the little pond? Currently working on 10th rewrite of a science fiction novel. Yeah. It’ll be a movie. Of course. Why not? Wrote a science fiction screenplay two years ago. Still no nibbles on that. I’ve published maybe a poem a year, a short story here and there, but I still continue to write. Writing anything on a regular basis steadies me and keeps me feeling alive. I lacked one major skill in the poetry business….networking. I’ve been awkward and smug both in my life, and until I turned 40, I had a problem with alcohol. Thus, no teaching job for me, but I don’t blame myself. After all, I’m a robot and lucky to have outlived my major flaws. My wife tells me I’m a good husband and the three previous one’s could not say that, and I understand perfectly. I need to stop here. I can see a too long commentary looming on the horizon.

    August 31, 2018
  • As a poet I can totally relate. So little opportunity for a poet south of 50 like me who has not achieved national acclaim in her youth. As a new fiction writer, I can totally relate. The big agents in NYC seem to favor young photogenic clients too.

    But as a poetry publisher, I am extremely proud of the fact that the majority of the books I publish are from middle-aged poets or older. Experience in the world and relating it to others matters. We’d have less strife if we listened to those generations who came before us and stopped repeating all the wrongs in the next generations. Age is not a consideration when MoonPath Press or Concrete Wolf or World Enough Writers (the 3 presses I manage) consider manuscripts. With the one exception of the Concrete Wolf Louis Award specifically for 1st poetry collections from writers 50 or older. We look for quality and quality only. And it just so happens that quality arrives in the form of a New & Selected manuscript from Michael Magee, a Tacoma poet in his 70s. Or a first collection from Glenna Cook, a poet who is 80–and whose book is now a finalist for the Washington State Book Award!

    I agree the publishing opportunities seem bleak for those of us with more life experience and maybe a few well-earned brow-furrows. But with presses like my own, and Two Sylvias, who recognize experience matters, perhaps the situation will improve.

    August 31, 2018
  • Renee

    Great post! I already feel that being 32 and living in a rural area, I have no chance of really “making it” as a poet— maybe I’ll go after it harder in my 60s 😉

    August 31, 2018
  • […] But there remains the problem – the culture of poetry’s fetishism of young poets. The desire for the new. Instagram poetry could be a great way to reach more people with poetry – or a great way to shallow-up the world of poetry, focusing on the pretty image and the tiny, easily digestible poem. I don’t have the answers. But you might – if you have the power to buy a book of poetry, or reviewing one, think about giving your attention to a poet who might not be the flavor of the month or in the spotlight, but might speak uniquely to you. If you are a publisher or editor, think about your gatekeepers – if they’re all 22, that might be affecting what gets past them, because at 22, you feel 30 is old – and that gives you a different worldview than someone, say, in their fifties. (If they’re all 22 white able-bodied males, you may have even more thinking to do.) Think about diversifying opportunity. After all, Ellen Bass never stopped being a terrific writer – she just dropped off the radar for a while. Jeannine Hall Gailey, Grappling with Middle Age and Being a Mid-Career Poet […]

    September 02, 2018

Leave a comment

Copyright © Dandelion by Pexeto