Success, Pancetta-Scrambled Eggs and Evergreen Review

Lyra and Baraka

How do we poets measure success? When I first started writing I believed that getting a handful of poems published in journals would provide that measure. Within a couple of years that belief morphed into publishing in better journals, and perhaps someday having editors ask to see my work. Then I thought chapbook publication would indicate achievement, as would having work accepted by a few “unattainables” — those journals that publish “THE GREATS,” not mere mortals like us. And of course winning contests and prizes would prove real success, as would full-length book publication. I’ve checked off all of those standards but one — full-length book publication — and still feel, well, lacking. The goal line keeps shimmering ahead, and likely always will. All this is to say that I have three poems up at Evergreen Review, an unattainable if ever there was. I must admit to feeling a moment of panic when Evergreen Review poetry editor Jee Leong Koh’s announcement email arrived this morning. “Are these poems good enough?” I asked myself. “Who am I, and how the hell did I ever think my work belonged there?” As I said, the goal line keeps moving, and I don’t know if true success in the poetry world, whatever that is, will ever welcome me. But this morning’s breakfast of pancetta-scrambled eggs and toast was delicious, if I say so myself. So I have that!

23 thoughts on “Success, Pancetta-Scrambled Eggs and Evergreen Review

    • Thanks, Jay. Getting the acceptance a few months ago was awesome and yes, validating. But I really did feel a moment of near-panic this morning upon receiving word that the poems were now out in the world and ready for judgment. I spent way too much time in the 80s looking at back issues of Evergreen to ever feel worthy. But…

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  1. Those poems are triumphs in themselves but wow, well done! 👏 Very happy for you, RO! Also I would totally celebrate those eggs too, especially after your long road back to normal taste/smell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sunshine! With regards to our taste/smell, I don’t know if we’ll ever attain normalcy again. We’re close, but onions and garlic are still iffy. Some days I can tolerate onions, and then there are those days when I gag at the smell of them in the grocery store. Raw peppers (red bell, jalapeños, etc.) are still a bit nasty, but once cooked are okay. So we mostly avoid onions and garlic, as tolerance shifts day-to-day. But at least we have bacon!

      Liked by 1 person

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