Poets market: Eastern Structures

One of the most significant moments of my writing life happened in 1989. After having written poetry intensely for about a year, I finally dared submit my poems to a couple of markets— I had purchased Writer’s Digest’s ‘Poets Market’— and one of them, Struggle: A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature, accepted some poems. (I was in my Youthful Marxist Phase at the time.)

I wrote a lot more poems that had ranty Marxist topics and I got published a few more times in Struggle. And I think that I learned a lesson about getting poetry published— try to find a poetry ‘zine you are in synch with and submit regularly.

Currently I discovered a new poetic market in a Facebook group about sijo poetry. It’s called Eastern Structures, and publishes 3 poetic forms: ghazals, sijo and haiku. The editor of Eastern Structures, R. W. Watkins, was seeking out some submissions of sijo for his next edition. The web page of Eastern Structures is: https://sites.google.com/site/nocturnalirispublications/eastern-structures

The ghazal form is explained on the website. ES publishes only 5-7-5 syllable haiku (& senryu)— they are quite firm about that. But they don’t insist on a season word in the haiku, or the strict division between haiku and senryu in the subject matter.

In the Sijo Poetry Facebook group, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/21083466365/), I asked the editor if he had any preferences for sijo in the matter of the number of lines. All the sijo in Eastern Structures #2 were written in 3 long lines, instead of breaking each long line into 2 half lines, leaving what looked like a six line poem.

R. W. Watkins replied: ” I prefer the original three-line version. The six-line version has a tendency to become a six-line thing in itself. I wrote an article on this subject almost two decades ago. Certain people hated me for it; it was an ‘inconvenient truth’.”

So— if you are a sijo poet, I would suggest you submit your sijo to Eastern Structures as poems of 3 long lines. If you have written sijo of 6 lines where the two line-pairs don’t work well as one line, the editor will probably reject it.

If you are new to submitting your poems to a market, here are some tips useful for submitting anywhere:

  • buy a sample copy or two of the ‘zine and read what has been accepted.
  • review descriptions of ghazals, sijo or haiku and see if your poems qualify as these forms.
  • write many, many ghazals, sijo or haiku before submitting, so you can pick the best of many.
  • after completing the first draft, let each poem ‘age’ a month or two before working on the final version.
  • if you think a market is a good fit for your work, don’t take rejection badly. Many poetic markets get hundreds more submissions than they can use. Submit your best new work at a future date.

Have you ever submitted your poems or prose to a publisher? How did it work out for you? Are you still submitting?


Other Post of Interest:

Celebrate: Poem Published! https://myantimatterlife.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/celebrate-poem-published/

Poem Stories: The Cosmos by Han Yongun; Celebrate

Celebrate blog hopThe Cosmos

The cosmos is swaying
in the autumn wind.
Are your petals wings
or wings your petals?
Your soul is a butterfly —
as far as I can see.

The Korean poet Han Yongun (1879-1944) was a Buddhist monk, and also one of the 33 who signed a historic document in 1919 declaring the independence of Korean from Japanese rule.

This poem is a sijo. A sijo is a traditional Korean type of poem, just as haiku and tanka are traditional Japanese types of poems.

How do you understand this poem or other poems? Forget all the English class nonsense where there were ‘right’ answers about the hidden stuff that was in a poem that only an English teacher could work out. A poem is more like an ink-blot test, and there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to what you see in a poem and what you think it means.

Here are some things the poem awoke in me:
I wondered about the word ‘cosmos.’ I looked it up in the dictionary. It can mean an orderly universe. Or it can mean a variety of flower. Is the ‘cosmos’ in this poem the universe, the flower or both? (It makes me wonder what the original word was in the Korean and if it had these two meanings.)

I wonder who the Speaker of the poem is talking to that either has wings or petals. Or both. Are the wings/petals literally. And the soul is a butterfly thing— ‘as far as I can see….’ Interesting.

So, now, your turn. What does the poem mean to you? If you had one question for the poet Han Yongun about the poem, what would it be? Post it in a comment!


This is  a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop.

What am I celebrating? Well, it’s kind of hard these days. I’ve been sick and it’s been very hot and uncomfortable by me. And then I heard the word about the terrorist attack in France killing 77 (Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.)

But I wrote a good poem last night after I studied the sijo poem above, so that’s something to celebrate. Can’t come out with a new poetry book if I don’t generate enough new material.

And on Lexa Cain’s blog, my friend Robert Mullin’s novella Blood Song was featured on a list of ‘freebies.’ I liked the book so much that I hope some more people will download and read the book.


My email list:

I’ve temporarily taken down the pop-up for my email list. I was hoping to put up a less annoying one but the one I wanted was not compatible with WordPress.com, just WordPress.org. If you want to join my email list without a popup to prompt you, the form is at: http://eepurl.com/FN2hr

Writing a yangjang sijo poem

modkoreanThe yangjang sijo is a modern variant of the standard sijo (pyong sijo), which is a very traditional Korean poetic form. The yangjang sijo was invented by poet Yi Unsang (also spelled Lee Eunsang.)

The standard sijo is written in three lines in Korean. Because the Korean alphabet is quite compact, the poems have awkwardly long lines in English. So the tradition is to divide the three Korean lines in half, making it look like a 6 line poem. For syllable counting purposes, each Korean line is divided into 4 quarter-lines.

Yi Unsang created the yangjang sijo by removing the middle of the three lines of the pyong/standard sijo. This makes the poem more compact and intense.

The first line of a yangjang sijo states and develops the theme. An anti-theme or a twist is given in the second, concluding line. If the first line raises a question, the second line will answer it. Or the second line will be a comment, perhaps a witty one, on the theme raised in the first.

Sijo lines have recommended syllable counts for the quarter-lines of each of the three lines. Yangjang sijo can use these as well. Here is one scheme, taken from Jaihiun Kim’s Modern Korean Verse in Sijo Form:

First line: 3 – 4 – 3 – 4
Second line: 3 – 6  – 4 – 3

A more flexible scheme as recommended by Yi Unsang, creator of yangsang sijo.

First line: 2-5 + 3-6 + 2-5  + 4-6
Second line: 3 + 5-9 + 4-5 + 3-4

So in total the yangjang sijo will have around 27 syllables while the standard sijo has around 44. But as you can see by the syllable counts above, it can vary a bit.

A yangjang sijo by Yi Unsang, taken from Modern Korean Verse in Sijo Form:

I’d Rather Go Blind

I try in vain to see my beloved
she appears only in dreams

If I can see her only with my eyes closed
I’d rather go blind.

Some things to note about Yi Unsang’s poem: First, like most modern sijos, it has a poem title. Also, the English translation is in four lines. Really, though, they are four half lines.

Here are the syllable counts for the quarter-lines of this poem:

4 – 6 – 3 – 4
5 – 6 – 3 – 2

This yangjang sijo is the only one I have been able to find so far. To get more models for study, find classic pyong/standard sijos and remove the middle line to see if they still make a little sense. Like this:

Deep in the mountains we have no calendar
To tell us when the seasons change

When children hunt for warm clothes,
We know it must be winter!

This is from a sijo in ‘Sunset in a Spider Web: Sijo Poetry of Ancient Korean’ by Virginia Olsen Baron. Here is another sijo adapted to yangjang sijo form:

My house is so deep in the woods
That the cuckoo sings in the daytime.

Even the dog, who has forgotten how to bark,
Naps while flowers fall.

The sijo form in general does not restrict the poet as to the subject. It can be about love, nature, politics, industrial espionage, your appliances plotting against you…. anything. You don’t have to make Korean culture and history a part of it. Use your culture, the history of your land, your life.


Atomic Energy is Your Friend

atomic-bombi am a shiny metal
atomic bomb
dropping so gracefully
thru your sky

do you hear my screaming silver streak?
do you see my flash brightening your last world?
do you feel my ardent heat caress you?
and are you sad to die?

i am a shiny metal
atomic bomb
dropping so gracefully
thru your sky

Nissa Annakindt 1990

This is one of my older poems but I still like the idea of getting the atomic bomb’s point of view. The poem doesn’t have any deep political or environmental message. It just is. Any meanings or hidden messages you find in this poem are unintended by the author.

This poem was included in both of my published poetry books, Where the Opium Cactus Grows and surly petunia.

‘surly petunia’ is a mini-ebook, kind of like a chapbook, with 24 poems. It is only 99 cents on Kindle right now. Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/Surly-Petunia-Nissa-Annakindt-ebook/dp/B00NZ96EYE I’m hoping to get some more sales of this poetry book before I publish the next one.

How to write 2nd Amendment poems — join the revolution

assaultriflesTweeting poetry. It’s a thing now. People write poems and tweet them using hashtags like #poetry or #haiku. Even if it’s a #senryu they use #haiku.

Defending the 2nd Amendment on Twitter is also a thing. People use the hashtag #2A for that. But why not combine the two— write 2nd Amendment poetry and tweet it? The hashtag I use for that is #2Apoems.

This topic got my attention because on my most recent visit to the website Poets United, they had an anti-gun rant poem and expected all people, even LGBT people, to be OK with them using the murders in Orlando as an excuse to promote their gun ‘control’ agenda. So, I no longer have Poets United as a venue to share my poems, so I took to Twitter.


My Twitter poems & their hashtags

black paint drips
on my deer rifle
now an assault weapon

#poetry #haiku #2Apoems #2A

fallen blossoms bleed
a killer seeks more victims
pink pistols shoot back

#poetry #senryu #haiku #Orlando #PinkPistols #2Apoems
Pink Pistols are an LGBT pro-gun group, their slogan, ‘armed Gays don’t get bashed.’

founding fathers shooting
muskets of mass destruction
scandalous, oh, my!

#poetry #senryu #haiku #foundingfathers #2A #2Apoems


Ready to join the 2nd Amendment poem revolution? Even if you don’t normally write poetry, if you can come up with a clever or pithy saying once in a while you can probably do this.

The kind of poems most people tweet are called ‘micropoems’— very short poems. Haiku, a traditional Japanese form of poem, are a popular kind. You may have learned to write them in school.

Schools teach that a haiku must have 3 lines— one of 5 syllables, one of 7, and one of 5. But most serious haiku writers aren’t strict with that since classic Japanese in English translation can have fewer syllables than that.

How do you get started to compose a haiku? Collect some keywords first. For example, in the poems above, the keywords could be ‘deer rifle’, ‘assault weapon’, ‘blossoms’, ‘pink pistols’, ‘muskets’, ‘mass destruction.’ If you can’t think of keywords, look at a 2nd amendment related article or news and just pick out a random bunch of words you find striking. Pick out a few keywords on your list— 4 to 6 is plenty for a haiku— and look at them. Let them sink in. Then start writing. You have my permission to write a few haiku that are really stinkers before you come up with one worthy of Tweeting.

Technical point:

Strictly speaking, many ‘haiku’ in English are not haiku in the traditional Japanese sense. A haiku is about nature and the natural world, not people and the human world. Another type of 5-7-5 syllable poem, the senryu, is an often satirical poem about humans and the human world. But most senryu poets who tweet their poems use the hashtag #haiku for their senryu. Because in English haiku tends to mean both.

Bad news for serious poets

If you are a serious poet seeking publication in literary magazines, you probably already know that most of them don’t accept previously published poems. What you may not know is that nearly all consider posting your poem online as a form of publication. But then, there are not a lot of 2nd Amendment poems getting accepted into literary magazines, so you may as well tweet them.

Non-haiku 2nd Amendment poems

You can also tweet short free verse poems or rhyming poems. Or use other poetic forms such as the tanka, lune, Collom lune…. And if you tend toward writing longer poems, blog the poem and tweet the link. It doesn’t matter. #2Apoems forever! Join the revolution!


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my poetry e-chapbook available on Kindle for 99 cents:
https://www.amazon.com/Surly-Petunia-Nissa-Annakindt-ebook/dp/B00NZ96EYE

Celebrate: Poem published!

Snapshot_20160304 (2)Today I’m celebrating an unexpected poetry publication. Many moons ago, I sent off a group of poems to the periodical Scifaikuest, a zine of sci-fi related haiku and other minimalist forms. I’d forgotten about it and assumed I’d been rejected until I got an envelope in the mail with the February edition of Scifaikuest. One of my poems was in it.

More than that, not only did I get a contributor’s copy of the magazine, but they enclosed PAYMENT!!! OK, it was a dollar. But it’s only been the second time I’ve gotten money for a poem of mine.

Check out the web site ‘Sciefaikuest’ for more information on subscribing to the zine, or on how to submit your own poems to Scifaikuest.

This is a blog post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. Go to: http://lexacain.blogspot.com/2016/03/celebrate-200k-page-views-giveaways.html   to read the other posts in the blog hop, join the hop yourself, or find your missing pink sock.

Celebrate blog hop


Writing a haiku for Scifaikuest

Step One: subscribe to Scifaikuest and read it faithfully. Or, if you have no money, read their abbreviated online version at their web site.

Step Two: read a few books of traditional haiku. Copy out some of your favorites.

Step Three: Start writing haiku of your own. Write two or three a day. Expect most of them to be bad.

Step Four: Make lists of keywords. One list should be your ordinary list of words. The other should have science fiction related words in it.

Step Five: start writing haiku using the sci-fi keywords (along with some from your other list. Write one every day. Expect most to be bad.

Step Six: After a few months, pick out the very best haiku you have written and revise and rewrite them as needed. Put them aside and then revise again. After this, select a small number of your very best haiku with sci-fi themes for your submission.

Step Seven: Submit. Be sure you have read the current policy of Scifaikuest on submissions, and have followed the instructions exactly.

Step Eight: When rejected, go through the steps again until you are published.

Writing a Collom Lune

Step one in the adventure of writing a Collom lune— discover what a Collom lune is. Which involves knowing what a regular lune is. The lune is a poetic form— like the sonnet, haiku and rispetto. The lune was created by poet Robert Kelly, and is a poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 3 in the second, and 5 in the third. There are no other rules, unlike haiku.

Enter the poet Jack Collom. He was teaching a class of children to write poetry, and misremembered the rules for the lune. He had his students counting words, not syllables.

The Collom lune is also a tercet (three-line poem) but has 3 words in the first line, 5 in the second, and 3 in the third. There are no other rules.

While some readers may think of the Collom lune as something to use in a homeschooling lesson on poetry writing, the Collom lune can do more than that. It is a great poem for the serious poet to try.

In most poetry, it’s the syllable that’s important. That goes for an iambic pentameter poem as well as for a haiku or a sijo. By using word count, the poet can achieve interesting effects by using both multisyllable and one syllable words. I have written poems consisting of three or four Collom lunes together.

To write the Collom lune, I start with a group of keywords to give me ideas. I write down three lines that I hope end up in the 3-5-3 word structure, but I’m not too fussy. If the word count’s not quite right, I revise.

Like Jack Collom, I am a misrememberer. My first attempt at a Collom lune was 5-3-5, which I call a reverse Collom lune.

Collom lune examples:

When the sun’s
rays hit the shades, it
lights up lines

written by a schoolchild

An envelope labelled
loose change holds coins meant
for loose teeth

Robert Lee Brewer, Poetic Asides columnist

Fireflies weave light
threads through corn, bean fields.
Sparkling tapestry rises.

‘Willy’

Challenge:
for poets, writers who are not poets, homeschooled kids, Barack Obama, and everyone else

Write a Collom lune today, using one of the following words as one of your keywords:

butterfly
teapot
past
Obamacare

Feel free to share your Collom lune as a comment on this blog. Or share it on your own blog and put a link to it as a comment here. Or, if it turns out REALLY well, DON’T share it online, save it so you can submit it to a poetry market (which consider blogging a poem to be a form of previous publication, which is why I haven’t shared one of the few Collom lunes I’ve written here.)

Poetic Asides: The Lune: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poets/poetic-form-lune