Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pride & Publications

June is here and with June comes Gay Pride Month, which is one of my favorite times of the year. It is the kick-off of summer and a time to celebrate who I am and the community I am so proud to be a part of. I will be spending the next few days enjoying Gay Days 2011 right here in Orlando. If you are gay or a straight person looking for a good time and haven't ever come to Gay Days, you are missing out. Gay Days is an annual event that has grown enormous over the years. Over 150,000 gays come into Orlando making it one of the biggest Pride events in the world. It is a blast and I'm looking forward to having a great time with my boyfriend, my friends, and maybe some new friends.

To help me kick-off Gay Pride Month here on Joe's Jacket, I thought I would mention two upcoming gay publications that will be featuring my work and discuss the issues involved in publishing in gay focused journals.

When I started seriously submitting my work, I was unsure about submitting to lots of gay publications. By gay publications, I mean those promoting themselves as gay and seeking work by GLBT writers solely or mostly. As a new writer, you are given lots of advice on things like submitting to niche journals (especially if you come from an academic background and seek an academic career). I was hesitant, but kept thinking about it and realized that some of my work would reach a much better and willing audience through some gay publications, so I began to submit to them.

The truth is, I have never had anything against gay journals, but, like with many minority groups, sometimes quality is not the point or the main focus. I don't want someone selecting my work because it is gay, but because it is well-written. I also don't want to be in a publication that publishes cliched and badly written poems about being gay just because they want to support gay writers. Being gay doesn't make you a good writer. Luckily, I realized there were some great options out there for me and for some of my work.

What I now try to do is strike a balance. I feel a duty to support quality gay journals. I want young and old gay people to be able to easily find work by me that relates to their own lives and experiences. I also attempt to write work that reflects things I often don't see in other gay poetry. This, of course, doesn't stop me from submitting to non-gay publications as well. In fact, I have more published in non-gay focused places than in gay ones. There are no hard and fast rules for how you should publish. You can find just about anyone that will tell you just about anything you should or shouldn't do. Rarely will the advice be the same. You have to do what feels right. I look for quality journals that strike me no matter what their focus is.

In the next few weeks, I will be featured in two gay publications that I'm thrilled about. The first up is Mary, which is a publication out of Brooklyn. You can pre-order the issue now and it will ship on June 16th. The issue includes my poem "Visiting My Parents After Watching For the Love of Dolly." This issue also has, possibly, the best cover of any journal I've been published in so far, so you will want a copy for sure.

I will also have a poem in the third issue of Assaracus, which is due out July 1st. You can pre-order the issue now. I was in the first issue of the journal as one of the featured poets. In this issue, there is a special feature on James Franco poems. These are all written by different poets and I am one of them. My poem is titled "Dreaming of James Franco." What I love about Assaracus is that is gives poets the chance to publish longer pieces or various pieces. The featured poets are all given 10 to 15 pages to fill. It truly is a publication devoted to poetry and exposing readers to the variety that is out there. I am thrilled to be in this issue, but I'd buy it for other poets.

For me, nothing is better than new gay poetry during Pride Month, so go pre-order yourself a copy of these journals and get reading!


-Stephen (Proud)

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