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Published in The Little Patuxent Review

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Marlena reading at the Little Patuxent Review’s launch. Photo by Linda Joy Burke.

The end of 2013 and into 2014 have been great for my poetry! I had two poems published—one in Lines+Stars Journal and another in the Little Patuxent Review (LPR).

With LPR, I experienced revising with an editor of a literary magazine. The LPR poetry editors were very kind and understanding if I wanted to keep my lines a certain way. In fact, they encouraged me to tell them if they were editing too much. They gave suggestions and made the process easy and enjoyable. I believe my two poems, which LPR decided to publish as one in two sections, grew stronger as a result of the feedback I received.

When I saw that LPR was having a science-themed issue I was very excited. I often write autobiographically about my body, height, genetics, and medical issues. It offers a lot of fruitful material. Medicine is scientific, I told myself while submitting. I thought my poems might find a home—and I am so glad they did with LPR.

As an added honor, I was invited to read at LPR’s launch reading for the Science Issue on January 25. The event was fantastic. It was in a little church in Columbia, Md., with large windows, a stone fireplace, and wooden walls. It was actually located three minutes from Columbia Mall—and we had a moment of silence before beginning to honor the victims of the day’s shooting at the mall. Editor Laura Shovan said poetry, and literature, can help us heal in these moments.

I met many local writers. I was the youngest reader again, and I took some pride in that. And the reading broadened my understanding of what science writing can be.

One poet read about an ancient fish that was thought to be extinct, another about bone marrow transfusions she had for leukemia. I read poems about my bone condition and genetics. Another writer read a passage of his humorous short story about quantum physics and the infinite amount of possibilities of going out on a date. I enjoyed them all.

I’m excited for what this year will bring me in poetry. I have to begin submitting to literary magazines like crazy again, if I expect anything to happen. And I’m going to have to start writing again. Just dedicating a lot of time to producing new material and revising until it’s ready to be sent out.

It’s a cycle, I’m finding. A cycle I’m very happy to be stuck in.

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