Remembering My Very First Published Poems



It was 1989, and I’d been writing poetry furiously for about a year, and I started to think about that oh-so-scary topic, publication. Since I was in my Youthful Marxist Phase at the time, the entry for ‘Struggle: A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature’ really intrigued me. I picked out a batch of my angriest socialist poetic rantings and sent them off.

I did not have high hopes. I’d send out a few other poems and been rejected. But this time I got word back that my poems— all I sent for that batch, I think— had been accepted and would be published in the Winter 1989-90 issue.

StruggleTOCWhen my two contributor’s copies came it was exciting to see my name in the Table of Contents, and the cool communist propaganda art on the cover. I enjoyed reading my five poems in the magazine just as if I hadn’t read them loads of times before.

The poems were:

Democracy (R) USA

Panama’s Child, Christmas Eve 1989

The Parttiming Minimumwaging Blues

Dangerous Waters

And What this Country Needs Is a Good 5 Cent Revolution

Most of these poems I know realize are not the best even from among the works I was producing at the time. But I worked hard on them and I worked hard on getting the poems out there to potential publishers, and it paid off.

I honestly think that ANYONE who writes poetry who keeps on writing poetry, and reading poetry, and trying to improve the level of their work and is willing to send out poems regularly to appropriate markets, will in time get at least a poem or two published. You may not be the most talented poet in the world, but you have an excellent chance to get published SOMEWHERE. So don’t give up. You can do it!




Aside: since there are so many would-be poets out there, I’ve been thinking of offering poetry critiques/reactions of short poems to interested aspiring poets. I would ask about $5 for a critique (or if you have some recent poetry magazines like Poetry or Scifaiquest or Chiron Review lying around I’d accept a copy in payment).  I thought that way I could critique a few poems and get a little money for buying those all-important sample copies of poetry magazines.

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