“On the Absurdity of ‘Cover Letters’ in Poetry Submissions”

“Short bios,” I could abide. I wouldn’t say I’m especially thrilled with them, but I could abide a little something, for people who are interested in geography, and people’s life choices.

But some things are just antithetical unto themselves, and it’s almost impossible for me to envision someone who really writes an entire “cover letter” to be attached to their poetry, actually releasing any poetry of galvanizing quality. Poetry, like all art, should speak for itself, and this assignment of “cover letters” for poets is as stupid as if say Warner Brothers required a biographical statement from all new rock and rap artists.

Bukowski once said, “The best part of a writer is down on the page, the rest usually isn’t much.” Whether or not this is true, I’m fine with it being true, and the primary aspect of a writer’s tutelage I am interested in is the writing itself. For all curiosity about someone’s personal life, there is an equal and opposite deficiency in the self at hand, an opportunity, perhaps tragically missed, for initiating an increased level of awareness or understanding of one’s surroundings, seeing things in a new way, or from a new perspective. Creative work should be a ticket to communication, not sociological organization.


Addenda: Carcinogenic Poetry

This is a very recommendable website and print poetry publisher, with gravitational stuff, and the following submission guideline: A brief biography in the 3rd person should accompany submission (max 4 lines). Really? You mean I have to do something with my day besides talk about how great I am?

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