Three Poems live today in Change Seven!

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Little Big Econ The sand sits hot, a biting white steam that burns Huxley’s paws and we quicken our strides to relieve him, to reach the shrinking shadows of nearby cabbage palms and magnolia trees…

Source: Three Poems by Brianne Manning

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Yellow Chair Review’s Issue 7 is live!

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Good Morning WordPress,

Yellow Chair Review‘s Issue 7 went live yesterday, and you can read the entire issue here! My poem, “The Gasoline Tree,” was published along with 99 other wonderful poets, seven artists/photographers, and 14 prose writers. Feast your eyes on a very diverse issue. Consider submitting your work to Yellow Chair ReviewYellow Chair Review is a literary journal accepting submissions of poetry, prose and art. Issues release quarterly. They seek to act as a safe space for both readers and writers from marginalized groups. They are particularly interested to see submissions from POC and the LGBTQ community. This would be a perfect opportunity for any of my fellow Central Floridians to submit writing related to the Pulse tragedies and how the Orlando community responded. Your voices should be heard.

In other news, I’ve been paying closer attention to the submission rejections I’ve received recently. Of the seven total rejections I’ve received in June so far, five of them asked me to consider sending my work again in the future. That’s definitely something to be happy about. Happy Tuesday!

Love,

Brianne

Beyoncé: Strength vs. Color

This is difficult to write and I’m sure it will be to read, but I hope that doesn’t scare you. We should never shy away from the uncomfortable—this very principle has allowed our nation to evolve beyond unspeakable barriers. Before drafting this article, I Googled writing an article about Beyoncé. The sixth organic search result was the first to catch my eye, and for good reason: “Dear White People Who Write Things” (VSB). The specific article offered two steps of advice for White people attempting to write about Beyoncé’s latest album, Lemonade: 1) Don’t and 2) Wait. The article ends with a lightly sardonic vignette of White people: “If you happen to be a White person who writes things and you happen to be reading this, I’m flattered that you spent part of your Sunday reading this. Thank you! Now back the f___ away from your screen, close your laptop, go to brunch, take a walk with some friends, and spend the rest of the day watching the NBA playoffs and Game of Thrones.” Dude, only three of those four things are true.

On the topic of barriers, at what point should shaming stop? I only just recently returned to Twitter after a five-year hiatus, and @KanyeWest is as ornery as ever: “To Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, New York Times, and any other White publications. Please do not comment on Black music anymore” (2/15/2016). I didn’t realize that in today’s world, freedom of speech has its limitations. I didn’t get that wake-up call, but it’s probably a good thing I’m not analyzing Beyoncé’s music.

I’ll tell you something that is true: I loved Destiny’s Child when I was growing up. I believed their songs, like “Survivor” and “Bootylicious,” were as much about me as any other 10-year-old girl believed, whether growing up in the mountains of New Hampshire or the warm plains of Texas. Those songs made me feel strong and feminine, even if “bootylicious” went on to take an official definition that adds to the sexualization of women.

Another thing that’s true: I have always had a girl crush on Beyoncé. What’s not to like? She’s beautiful, intelligent, talented, and empowering. Beyoncé’s ability to empower is limited, in my eyes, by her unapologetic message: strong Black woman. There is nothing wrong with that, but what about the limitless possibilities that come with embodying strong women? If music is supposed to be a universal language, why are we limiting music by assigning it ethnic classifications?

 

Still Here: Year of Publishing, Graduating, and Reconfiguration

Hello friends,

It’s been a while since I last posted an update. What surprises and successes this last year has afforded me. In March, I successfully defended my thesis before my committee at the University of Central Florida. In April, I read at least half of my poetry collection before my peers and literary fellows. This May, I walked across stage to symbolically earn my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, though I’m still waiting for the hard copy diploma…

In bittersweet news, the company that my fiancé and I worked for closed its doors on Friday, March 11, 2016. I was booze-drowning my unemployment sorrows at a friend’s birthday party when I received a Facebook message from an old colleague. Cut to the chase, I met with him that following Monday and became his new Marketing Strategist. Although I’m not writing creatively for money, I get to proof content and coordinate development for websites we launch to market services throughout the country. And after a few weeks running food and serving sushi, Josh got a job as a Paid Search Specialist for a small agency with big clients. Pretty exciting stuff.

Creatively speaking, I’m on a roll! My poem, “Blind Tomorrow,” was accepted for publication in print by Blue Monday Review, a quarterly Kansas City publication that draws inspiration from the works of Kurt Vonnegut. Then the title poem of my thesis collection, “The Gasoline Tree,” was accepted for publication online sometime this coming June by Yellow Chair Review in Waco, Texas. Then four of my poems were published online by The Galway Review in Ireland: “Departure from Loneliness,” “Vacancy,” “Bring Me Back,” and “Sandwich Generation.” You can read all of them here! Last but not least, Crab Fat Magazine accepted my confessional prose poem, “I did a lot of things,” and should be publishing it online sometime in July or August.

As often as I refresh my inbox hoping to receive good submission news, the bad news I’ve been receiving hasn’t been all that bad. For those of you that don’t already know, RejectionWiki is a fantastic source for discovering and differentiating the types of rejections you receive from journals. Sure, I get a lot of form rejections. But personal rejections are what really keep me motivated:

  • It’s not you, it’s us: Unfortunately, the piece is not for us. This does not necessarily reflect the quality of your work.
  • Holloback girl! Unfortunately, after much discussion, we ultimately decided we would have to pass this time around but I hope you will consider us in the future.
  • Tried & true: We wish you the best placing it elsewhere.

I treat the process of submitting my work like a full time job, because it is. I don’t limit myself to specific markets, such as: genre journals or magazines, themed contests, non-simultaneous submissions, print only, online only, prose only, rhyming only, etc. Why limit yourself right out of the gate?

My checklist for journals to submit to:

  1. Acceptance vs. rejection ratios: You have to have some kind of confidence to exclusively send your writing to markets with 1% or less acceptance ratios. Tough markets often take longer to get back to you too. I don’t necessarily want to wait 180 days for a NO, but that choice honestly depends on the poems. I know my best poems and I usually always want to save them for more reputable journals. Just remember that all journals have a reputation. Do your research and explore their published examples.
  2. Response time: As I mentioned above, journals have a variety of average response times. Some accept within two weeks or four months while others reject within two weeks and accept in four months. Set realistic expectations based on statistics, and I strongly recommend you get a Duotrope account so you can keep track of simultaneous submissions. If a poem of yours gets accepted somewhere, you need to alert the other journals that you sent that poem to right away.
  3. Print vs. online publication: Although your work is still as important when published online as it is in print, I typically reserve my best pieces for journals that do publish in print. There’s always a risk of a website becoming defunct. This happened to me when I published my first poem online in Dead Beats, a UK literary blog dedicated to the Beat Generation. When I went back a year later to read new work, the site was nowhere to be found.
  4. Pay vs. no-pay markets: We all want to get paid for our creative work. After all, I did spend five years in school earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. As we all know, education doesn’t necessarily equate to prosperity these days. You need to be smart. You can’t expect to be paid for each poem or short story you write, but you should always try.

Now that I’m done with school, I’m focusing on my career and expanding my horizons. Josh and I can start planning our wedding, but we’re still waiting to find out how long we’ll stay in Florida. Can’t take the heat anymore! Or the flat landscapes! But I will miss the sunsets.

Feel free to say hello, tell your own publication stories, or ask any questions in the comments section. I’ll respond as soon as I can.

 

With love,

Brianne (& Huxley)

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by Jerry Martin, 5/21/2016