Skip to main content

Why Publish? -- Writer's Poke #82

For Writers:

Emily Dickinson wrote over 1800 poems, but published just seven in her lifetime. It's almost incomprehensible to a modern sensibility, especially for those of us that live in the college mindset of "publish or perish."

Why publish? I think it's a valid question. Is it the need for validation? Most aspiring poets and fiction writers still subscribe to the notion that they are not "real writers" unless they publish, and therefore they send their stuff to small literary magazines that no one reads. When one accepts their work, they advertise the fact proudly. And that becomes the main end. From most, I never sense that they care if any one actually reads their work, just as long as it's published.

Having work published does more than validate, of course. It also provides a certain level of credibility that they can use to secure future publication in other obscure, largely unread literary journals.

Dickinson, arguably America's greatest poet, wrote poems without publishing. She did not perish.

Do you believe someone must publish in order to earn the designation "writer"? In your opinion what value do small literary magazines hold?

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." -- Cyril Connolly

"Publication - is the auction of the Mind of Man." -- Emily Dickinson

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota


I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …