At AWP, I spoke to an editor from a top journal I had published with years ago. She asked me why hadn't I sent any poems to her publication. I had to stop myself for a minute--good question.Why hadn't I sent any poems to this journal that had previously published not only a poem but an essay. It never occurred to me to send my poems back to the same journal again and again.
When I told her this, she said that's one thing she's noticed over the years: poets and writers do not work to develop relationships with editors and publications anymore. Admittedly, I seek out quantity sometimes over quality. I like publishing my work in various journals, print and online. But the editor had a point. Why not work to develop a rapport with an editor--or a few, for that matter--who will greet my submissions more favorably. I don't think writers have to only send to a few places; on the contrary, we must broaden the net while staying loyal to the publications that have gotten us this far.
As poets trying to carve out careers, the odds are stacked against us--too many of us seeking the same crumbs from the table. But one area in which writers have a clear advantage is the plethora of presses, journals, and zines vehicles to submit work. There's no shortage of places to publish. I know if I get rejected, even by a publisher who has accepted my poems in the past, I will move onto the next indie publication, and the next one after that, and so on.
Tell me, dear reader. Do you send to journals that have published your poems in the past on a regular basis? Or are you looking for the new next in lit mags? And editors, are you more favorable to certain writers who cultivate a relationship with your publication? Why?