Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Modern Review (reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeJECTED!)

I am convinced that poetry editors must also be poetry writers - makes sense on a common sense, purely logical level, I mean who else would want to read poetry all day and evaluate its aesthetic value? a brain surgeon?! But the major reason I say that is because every rejection I've received over the last month has arrived between 1am and 3 am. We all know poets don't sleep, right? ;) At something like 1:30 am I got my rejection from The Modern Review. Of course, they're in Wisconsin apparently, so it was more like 11:30 pm their time I believe, but even so, that's well past normal working hours.

Another rejection - another that wasn't seething or horrible, which is good because I couldn't have taken it at the time if it had been. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hop up and celebrate the rejection, but it could have been much worse!

You know, I've gotten so many rejections lately, I should start evaluating the tone of all the rejections on a scale of one to ten - one being "made me want to drown my self-loathing in mass quantities of opiates" and ten being, "Wow, this was so nice I invited the guy out for dinner and drinks tomorrow night!"

Yeah, probably not, but if I were going to do that, TMR would get at least a 6, maybe more, since the receiving mood was pretty shot to hell after the day that was yesterday. Very professional, gentle but not friendly. Invited me to submit again next reading period. Sounded pretty much like a form letter, which is par for the course for a busy editor.

God knows how they survive reading the volumes of poetry that, for whatever reason, doesn't make it into each issue.


  1. Anonymous4:22 PM

    Ah, Erin, they are no fun. My favorite story is of Scott Fitzgerald papering the walls of his apartment with rejection slips in New York before he hit it big.

    My own favorite rejection was from The Georgia Review, a nice handwritten note. : )Wonder what I did with it?


  2. lol well, they aren't fun - obviously I'd rather they told me I had written the most amazing thing they'd ever read... worship me, offer to paint my toenails and stuff, but at least so far, I've never gotten any of the nasty ones, like I hear people talk about, so I try not to complain :)

  3. Yeah, I got that one a week ago. Said pretty much the same thing. Just waiting for the rest to come in the same way...

  4. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Erin, when I started writing poetry, I had a grand total of four. I wanted to send them out but I couldn't send all four to this one mag. I felt guilty about the ones I didn't send...

    Well, we get over that kind of stuff, maybe... :)


  5. Oh Millard, I guess I've been lucky, I've had none that have hurt my feelings, or that I felt the need to recover from lol. I think it's all about your attitude when you submit. I submit knowing that the abundance of poetry out there far outweighs the spaces available for it to be published. Supply and demand you know? And if poems were crude oil right now, gas would be damn near free!

    Plus, I try to learn something from each rejection, re-evaluate the piece - I'd LOVE for every one to come with a full explanation - "We aren't including this because it's poorly crafted" or "we aren't going to print this because it doesn't meet the theme for this issue" or whatever, but they don't have time for all that, so I have to decide for myself if it's a problem with the poem itself, or that I'd tried selling it to the wrong place.

    It's all about attitude, seriously. God if I let every rejection hurt me, I'd be suicidal, and I'd never have enough confidence in anything I wrote to even consider submitting again! I take them in stride - they come with the territory.

  6. good attitude erin --

    poet's tend to be sensative to rejection/criticism...hell, everyone is, but sometimes that sensativity is amplified in art. i speak from personal experience. a few years ago, i sent out poems to about 25 print publications...and got back 25 rejections. the rejections weren't bad, but the fact that all but 23 of the rejections came back as forms without comment -- i couldn't even be certain anyone read the poems.

    so when i did a stint as a poetry editor, i swore i would personalize all my rejections. and then, reality struck. i had 100 groups of poems, some truly awful. and i realized that i couldn't possibly comment on every sub.

    so keep sending, don't get discouraged, learn what you can, prize the comments you get when you get them, and celebrate when you are accepted.

  7. "...some truly aweful."

    haha! I did a quick stint as the editor of an ezine once - so many of the submissions were truly aweful - and you sit there, staring at it, wondering what in hell do you say to this person!? "No way, this sucks!" would just be inappropriate and rude - but it was what I wanted to say many many times! But to offer any other explanation would have been to lie - so I too devised the form letters and made use of them often!

  8. I was in several of those ezines...I wonder if I simply sucked less. Lol

  9. WI is one hour behind you, not two.

    Ever helpful!

    It's only a person doing the rejecting....and obviously they have no taste if they reject you darlin!