Part III. Poetic Posterity

  1. Poetry Prize Endowments
  2. Friends of CWG
  3. Gifts of Poetry
  4. Blank Page Books
  5. The Present File
  6. Why Most Great Poems Die After Publication
  7. Poetry For Progeny — Video Yourself
  8. How We Keep Poetry in Circulation
  9. Keeping Poetry Alive & Well — Making Your Will
  10. Swing Low, Sweet Muse… When You Are Gone

1.  Poetry Prize Endowments

If you are interested in endowing a prize in our annual contest, we are interested in hearing from you. Our major prize is $1,000 and is the Muriel Craft Bailey Award. You may be considered for prizes that range from $500 to $750 in your name or that of a loved one. In order to be considered, you must do the following:

  1. Send a letter (snail mail, please) telling us about the individual to be honored. A brief bio including any connection the person has or had with poetry or poets.
  2. If the individual was a poet, we would like to see a sample of the poet’s work. It will not be a criteria for selection, however.
  3. Tell us why you wish to endow the prize for this person. What did s/he do that makes him/her important to you and/or your poetry.
  4. Send a cashier’s check in the amount of the endowment to The Comstock Writers’ Group, Inc. If, for any reason, your proposal is unacceptable, your check will, of course, be returned.
  5. Tell us whether you intend to make this a one year or permanent endowment. Your intention may change if your circumstances do so do not think you will be held to any decision made in advance.

2.Friends of CWG 

Friends of The Comstock Writers’ Group Application Form



Membership Category (Please consider the highest level that you can barely afford)

Benefactor…………………….$1000 and up
Corporate……………………..$500 to $999
Contributing…………………..$100 to $499
Sustaining……………………..$50 to $99
Family………………………….$20 to $49
Individual……………………..$15 to $19

Method of Payment:

Check enclosed
Money Order enclosed
Installment enclosed

Mail to: Donations, Comstock Writers’ Group, 4956 St. John Drive, Syracuse NY 13215

3. Gifts of Poetry 

One of the ways in which we can promote, support, encourage and celebrate poetry is to take every opportunity to give gifts of poetry to friends and family. For as different as each of them is, there are infinite choices to show your sensitivity to their individuality and tastes. Children can be encouraged to enjoy reading and speaking poetry… it is a chance to be center stage without pressure. Adults can realize, perhaps for the first time, that poetry can be fun, enjoyable, challenging and rewarding. When you think, “What shall I buy for…” — think poetry.

4. Blank Page Books 

Our book stores are filled with blank page books with beautiful covers attesting to the fact that thousands of poets are looking for a way to gather their poems in book form. We heartily encourage your doing this. It will give you a chance to see the results of your work collected in book form. It makes a beautiful gift… your poems written in your own handwriting for a loved one to enjoy… for you to enjoy.

Some use these books to write quotes that they enjoy reading and inspirational messages from which they can write their own poems. Give a hint to the person who always gives you ties or aprons that this is something you could really use.

5. The Present File 

You are of an age where you already have too much generic stuff. Your friends and family would appreciate a little guidance when your birthday and holidays come round. Get a 3×5 card file and some cards. Go to the local book stores and on each card write the item, cost, store. You may end up getting Carolyn Forche’s new poetry volume instead of a can opener or you may get that CD Reading of Alan Ginsberg instead of a new wrench. Try it… you can always go back to getting whatever other people think you want.

6. Why Most Great Poems Die After Publication 

New poets to the publication business invariably ask the same question in a poignant and sincere attempt to find a way to separate from that good poem that was printed in a pamphlet and is now relegated to anonymity for eternity. Well, what’s the alternative? Seeing the same printable poem in four hundred magazines? It would happen without restrictions, you know. Nevertheless, it is still a dilemma. It creates hardships for both poet and publisher.

Some presses do re-prints. The Comstock Review does not. Like all journals, we get stung once in a while by a poet who is oblivious, ignorant or ignoring the rules of publishing poetry. However, it is rare. We find poets are like campers… honest, caring and supportive of each other. If you have a poem published, NEVER send it out again without acknowledging its first printing. If the magazine accepts re-prints, insist that they put the name of the magazine, volume, # and year at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, you run the risk of being viewed as a persona non grata in the poetry world!!!

7. Poetry For Progeny — Video Yourself 

Many people write lengthy letters philosophizing for their offspring.

You don’t necessarily have to do that because your philosophy may well exist in your poetry. Whether you give it as a gift or leave it as a bequest, you might consider this:

  1. Ask someone with a video camera (or rent one) to record your reading from your collected works.
  2. Set a pleasant scene in a comfortable, familiar place.
  3. Be well-prepared and look into the camera.
  4. You will forget about the camera soon.
  5. Your children, grandchildren, etc. will have a remembrance of you that reaches from your soul to theirs.

8. How We Keep Poetry In Circulation

We are certain that you wonder how many poets actually get to read your poem once it is published. As we have the same fears for our own work, we can only take care to see that The Comstock Review gets wide circulation. Our methods are somewhat costly but worth it for our poets.

First, we print just under a thousand copies — amounts vary because some are lost in printing and at the bindery. Next, we spend many hours sending out CR to our subscribers and contributors. We must do bulk mailing so there are numerous steps in preparation. After the “spoken for” copies, we keep a few copies for the archives and for those who order back copies or more copies after they have seen the magazine in print. And, the rest… they could gather dust OR, as we like to do, be sent to other editors who are also poets. Thus, our poets are exposed to many other magazine editors who learn to recognize them and to appreciate their work. We think this is the best use of extra CRs (though we have been re-printing as of late to meet demand).

It serves to let editors see your work, our magazine, and continues the trend of sharing volumes as we know poets do. We can guesstimate that about 1000 poets will see your stuff when printed in The Comstock Review. Not too shabby, eh?

9. Keeping Poetry Alive and Well — Making Your Will 

Poetry is an important part of your life. You can make a commitment to poetry in some very significant ways:

  1. Determine how much money you want to invest in poetry.
  2. The amount will determine whether it is a permanent endowment where interest alone is tapped or a one-shot gift.
  3. Decide whether to use the money in your own community or nationally.
  4. Will it be a gift that starts or encourages a new magazine? that gives a prize in your name? that encourages children to write? that is given to a college English Department for Creative Writing? to a writing group? The ideas are endless. The decision is yours. Talk to your family. Whether it is $100 or $1,000,000,000 — do something for POETRY.
  5. Talk to your attorney.

10. Swing Low, Sweet Muse — Your Poems When You Are Gone 

Poetry lives forever but poets, sadly, do not. You have spent a lot of time and put some serious heart and soul into your Collected Works.

Now, take some time and decide what you want to happen to them when you slip into that metaphor in the sky.

Who will own them? Should they be published posthumously? Should they line the bottom of the bird cage? You’re dead… so who cares? The questions are endless. We think your writing is enough a part of your living that you should provide for your poems just as you would for other helpless survivors. Get a game plan together. Find someone willing to do what you need done and write it up formally. You’ll feel better and your work will be in safekeeping. Provide well for your offspring.