Finding the Heart’s Balance

Darren Donate Editor Photo

Darren Donate, Poetry Editor

Beauty is important in poetry, but it isn’t everything. Oftentimes, I tell students that are working on their own projects—whether it is poetry, fiction, or nonfiction—to write something that is true to themselves. I think often of what Ron Padgett said about writing poetry that would have inspired his teenage self—-the person living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That ideal is communicable to me; while it may be easy to get wrapped up in theory and experimentation, I think that it is incredibly important to find the heart’s balance. As the incoming Poetry Editor at Blue Mesa Review, I want to read submissions that get to the center of an experience and leave me with a sense of longing.

The best works that I have read were maybe unsharpened or rough around the edges, but they were able to encapsulate the humanness that first attracts readers to poetry. I am seeking work that wants to break new ground through its use of language, and while form is something that I am deeply interested in—I feel that content and execution should be valued over all else.

I am greedy. I want to leave a piece of poetry and feel like my soul has eaten a cheesecake.

But in all seriousness, I want poets to continue questioning themselves and their work. Is what I am writing about really getting to the truth? Does this sort of experience have value other than being ornamental? Am I farming my heart for poetry? I want to know who you are and feel through your writing a motivation and passion for your work.

Poets, let’s come together and share these truths, pitfalls, beauties, and experiences together. I am excited to read your submissions!

If you’d like to submit to our summer contest, please check out our submittable.

Darren Donate