“Ode to Kingsessing,” “Engagement,” and “Thin Walls” have been accepted by Storyscape Journal. I love these poems, and am so eager to see them in this wonderful journal. They are my most recent works to be accepted, and it is great to have some confirmation that I am heading on a good path with my writing.
The journal has an interesting premise, where instead of categorizing into prose/poetry, etc., they categorize by “Truth,” “Untruth,” and “We Don’t Know and They Won’t Tell Us.” So after my poems were accepted, I had to label them one of the three. It was a really challenging decision!
My poems are heavily influenced by confessionalist or post-confessionalist themes, and at their core they are all true. But then the muddiness of the details! I take liberties here and there in the writing process (the hissing cockroaches in “Thin Walls” are typically found in Madagascar, not in Philadelphia kitchens, for example), and it was a fascinating moment for me to decide if such a detail made these poems “Untruths.” Thinking of James Frey, I can imagine an argument for making them “Untruths.”
But I felt that negated so much of the poem’s meaning. And poetry is not likely to be held to the same standards of truth as memoir, for reasons I am both unsure of and grateful for. I think it has to do with, in part, the expanse of your audience. I believe I would prefer the right to change a detail here and there if it better suits the meaning of the poem, then to be bound to an exact (while malleable, fluid) truth.
So I decided on labeling my poems “Truths,” and don’t have a fear that I’m about to be kicked out Oprah’s book club as a result. It was a great process, deciding what drew the line where, and it’s one I’d suggest for all writers.
Oh, and of course, a great way to do so is to submit and have your work accepted by Storyscape! Link to submissions page here.