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Meet the Teaching Artist: Secrets to Publishing Poems in the Best Journals with Janée J. Baugher

by Writing Workshops Staff

A year ago

Meet the Teaching Artist: Secrets to Publishing Poems in the Best Journals with Janée J. Baugher

by Writing Workshops Staff

A year ago

We have an incredible opportunity for you to learn from teaching artist and poet, Janée J. Baugher. Get ready to unlock the secrets to publishing your poems in the best literary journals with her captivating new craft seminar, aptly titled Secrets to Publishing Poems in the Best Journals Zoom Seminar.

In this illuminating class, Janée, an experienced editor who has delved into countless poetry submissions, will demystify the enigmatic question, "What do poetry editors really want?" With her unique blend of insight, cynicism, and real-life examples of poems gone awry, she will guide you on a journey toward understanding the publishing goals that will help your work soar. Prepare to gain invaluable knowledge about submissions from an editor's perspective, discover time-saving tricks of the trade, and significantly increase your chances of acceptance by following Janée's tried-and-true steps.

Through a dynamic mix of lectures, discussions, writing exercises, and Q&A sessions, you'll not only learn about the writer/editor relationship, but also have the opportunity to receive personalized feedback on your own poetic aesthetics and publishing aspirations. So bring your passion, your questions, and even excerpts of your poems to evaluate their publishable qualities against the backdrop of the best literary journals.

Hi, Janée. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

I’m a Pacific Northwest writer of poems and nonfiction, and I hold degrees from Boston University and Eastern Washington University. I’m the author of three books, my writing has been published in over 150 journals, and my poems have been adapted for the stage and set to music at numerous venues.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?

As a seasoned poetry reader, it never gets easy sending out rejection letters to poets who have publishing aspirations. I developed this course to elucidate the editorial process and educate writers on where things go awry, some of which can be helped by the writers and some of which is outside their control.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

In this 3-hour course, my aim is to demystify the submitting and editorial process. My perspective is twofold: as a writer who’s been publishing in literary journals since the 1995 and as someone who’s worked as a poetry editor for various journals since 1999. We’ll discuss expectations regarding the writer/editor relationship, we’ll look at poems the were deemed “not accepted” and those deemed “accepted,” and we’ll discuss current trends in American poetry. Students will leave the class with a better understanding about how their poems measure up and what they can do to improve their chances of getting published in the best literary journals.

What was your first literary crush?

The Pacific Northwest poet, Alyssa Burrows, author of the 1992 collection of poems, Light Blue is a Sissy Color.

What are you currently reading?

Because I’m currently engrossed in a nonfiction project that concerns mental health, I’m reading Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff.

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I advise my poetry students (for, it’s worked well for me) to have a lot of poems in various states of undress. Imagine a long room. Imagine pieces of paper lined up across the room. On the far right side is a poem that is nearly finished, for it requires just a spell-check and it’s ready to send off to a literary magazine. On the far left side is a blank sheet of paper, which represents all the possibility of your genius. The pages in the middle have a few words, a few lines, a few strophes, each page (as you gaze from left to right) has more words, with elements of craft worked out, with vividness settled, with succinctness accomplished, and so on. The benefit, therefore, of having poems in these various states affords the writer the luxury of attending to her own mood. When you start your day and feel particularly playful, the blank page is your task. Conversely, if you’re feeling the need for finality, completing the spell check is the page that gets your attention.

Where do you find inspiration?

Perhaps how do I find inspiration is a better setup: I find it when my eyes are open and sometimes when they’re closed.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

When I first began writing creatively I was a bit flummoxed. For, you see, I’d been a science major and was working in the field of organ transplantation when I discovered a love for literature. Suffice it to say, accessing my creative abilities was painstaking. Thankfully, an early poetry teacher introduced me to the writings of Dr. Peter Elbow. His seminal essay, “Freewriting” (excerpted from one of his books, Writing Without Teachers) was exactly the instruction I needed to write from the place of not-knowing. I owe all my writing success to Peter, who has since become a dear friend.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Well, one of the most important craft essays that exists for poets, I believe, is Denise Levertov’s “On the Function of the Line.” She likens crafting poetic lines with composers’ musical scores. Furthermore, the essay is a reminder that mastering the line break is a lifelong endeavor. If you aim to write free-verse poetry with line breaks, you ought to both read this essay as well as study the Levertov’s own poems.

What other upcoming Writing Workshops classes are you offering?

Well, in July I’ll be teaching the 3-hour course, What Good is Research for Creative Writers? and beginning in September, I look forward to teaching the 10-week course, “Poetry Workshop.”

Learn more about working with Janée:

You can learn more about Janée's upcoming seminar Secrets to Publishing Poems in the Best Journals and sign up now!

Don't miss out on this extraordinary chance to learn from the brilliant Janée J. Baugher and propel your poetry toward the recognition it deserves!

Instructor Janée J. Baugher, MFA is the author of The Ekphrastic Writer: Creating Art-Influenced Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction (McFarland, 2020), The Body’s Physics (Tebot Bach, 2013), and Coördinates of Yes (Ahadada Books, 2010). Over the last 25 years her writing has been published widely, including in The Writer’s Chronicle, Tin House, Hippocampus Magazine, and Denver Quarterly. Baugher, a former poetry editor of Willow Springs and Switched-on Gutenberg, is a longtime assistant editor at Boulevard.

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