Thursday, May 26, 2005

Seventeen

Shortly before I got the job at Books Inc I started sending my poems to Seventeen magazine. I read in a publishers-of-poetry listing that they published poems by poets under the age of 25 or 23 or 22 or something. I’d never read the magazine but I knew they’d published early Plath. After two or three submissions an editor started scrawling notes on the rejections, “Don’t be discouraged!” I remember I wrote back saying I couldn’t be discouraged!

HA!

Eventually they bought 4 poems from me ($15 apiece) and published two. Have I been paid for a poem since? I showed off the magazine to all my Books Inc coworkers. I really am a writer, see? The first poem was published just after my 20th birthday.

I had to sign a contract giving away all rights. This means if I ever want to republish one of those poems I’m supposed to ask Seventeen for permission. I didn’t like that, which was one of the reasons I stopped sending them poems. But I’d conquered Seventeen! Following in the footsteps of Sylvia Plath. My poems appeared on newsstands across the country. I even got a couple letters from readers.

2 comments:

David Lee said...

I came across that issue of Seventeen when I was sorting my stuff last summer. My first thought was "Why do I have an issue of Seventeen?" I'm sure I read Seventeen (and Cosmo and Elle and such) now and then but why did I save a copy?

"Oh yeah! Glenn's got poems in here!" So it's packed with all the other stuff. I think. You didn't recycle a Seventeen did you?

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I remember you reading Seventeen, among the many things you'd read at the library. I've come across my contributor's copy and puzzled at it, too. "Oh yeah!"

I've been very selective about recycling and throwing away, you damn packrat. (You'll see.) How did we get so thing-clingy?

However we got there, we ain't gonna change I 'spect.