Sam van Zweden




The Waiting Game

I get jumpy after I’ve submitted things. Between the hours of 9am and 5pm, I check my email at least every half hour, just to make sure an editor hasn’t replied to my submission. I’m not waiting for an acceptance letter – I mean, it’d be nice. But I’m just waiting for contact, of any sort. Rejection? That’s okay. At least I can push forward after a rejection.

Weekends are the worst. I was silly enough to submit a piece I had particularly high hopes for the weekend of Queen’s Birthday… So I submitted on the Friday and subjected myself to waiting through Saturday and Sunday, and Monday too. The worst bit? Somehow, the writer’s brain convinces them that editors might take time out from sunning themselves in the park or playing soccer with their kids, in order to work. So weekends become frought too – I fight against the reasonable part of myself and check my email much too often anyway.

This morning I received some contact from the Australian Poetry Journal, where I’d submitted two poems for consideration… My heart jumped, I clicked on the email and discovered it was a notice to let me know they’d received my submission. The sad thing is that this happens so seldom (most of my submissions are met with the internet equivalent of a blank stare) that I was actually a little disappointed.

All of this, however, I can deal with. It’s a necessary part of the process – and it’s all made worthwhile by those rare acceptance letters, those moments when your heart leaps out of your chest because you’ve managed to make a dream come true…

My dream? Getting published in The Big Issue. Coming true? Most certainly. On the 19th of July, the new edition of The Big Issue is being released with my story, “My Brother the Chef” in it. I had to wait for that letter for a few weeks, including that torturous long weekend. I checked my email compulsively. But eventually it happened, and that made all the waiting worth it.

Overload Call-Out

The Overload Poetry Festival was one of my favourite things about last year; I had an absolute blast blogging for them. Sure, it’s not on again until September yet, but the back-end stuff has started happening already – they have issued a call-out for submissions, and first announcements of performers and events for the 2011 festival should happen around June. This year being the 10th year of the festival, it’s all set to be one big party.

A media release from the festival is below. Don’t discount this festival as “too hard” or “unachievable” – last year I had two pieces of micro poetry accepted and broadcast at the ticker text at Fed Square. The people who perform are those who are more than happy to rub shoulders and get sloshed with you afterwards – you could be one of those people! Melbourne’s poetry scene is super-accepting, uber-friendly, and incredibly feel-good. If you’ve got an idea – PITCH! Go forth and verse, yo.

Be sure to check out their website for details about the festival.

Overload 2011 – Calling for Submissions!

The Melbourne Overload Poetry Festival is the biggest grass roots poetry and spoken word festival in Australia. We are an inclusive and diverse festival that strives to showcase all forms of poetry, on or off the page. Overload has a reputation for pairing the experimental with the traditional, presenting them in an equal light in an accessible way.

From 10 to 19 September, the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. We have come from being a small collective of regular, mainly pub poetry readings to a 10 day festival with a national and international presence.

In 2011 we want to celebrate this evolution with your help. We are calling for expressions of interest from poets in Melbourne and elsewhere in Australia who have ideas for events, a publication or CD they’d like to launch, or would simply like to read their work at Overload.

Go to, download and fill out the submission form and return it to Overload before 13 May 2011. Provide as much information as possible: examples of your work, a bio, a thorough description of the event you’re planning, what kind of resources you have or need (publicity, venue, fees, etc), and if you’re coming from outside Melbourne, which dates you’re available.

Send us your proposals via email to, or by post to Overload Poetry Inc, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000. Attach as much support material as you can. If sending via post and you’d like us to return any samples of your work, please provide a SSAE.

Interstate and international poets please note: Overload is unable to offer any financial support for travel or accommodation. However, we will try and make the trip worth your while by offering two gigs at the festival.

176 Lt Londsale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9094 7835


Sometimes people online have freaking awesome ideas. A while ago, Megan Burke did the Comment July Challenge. J Kaye does the 100+ Book Challenge. And now, I’ve been invited to participate in the #10bythen challenge.

The idea? Submit ten pieces by the 1st of October. It’s a big ask. A really big ask. I usually submit about 2 each month. So this will make me work incredibly hard – but I’ll give it a shot!

If you’ve got Twitter, you should join in with the #10bythen hashtag and get ten pieces out by the 1st of October!

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