Friday, July 22, 2005

Stuff on my Mind

Several of my poems are freed up for submission again, I had a problem with one editor who kept saying he didn't receive my submissions, asked me (through a mutual contact) to resubmit on 2 occasions, then never acknowledged that I did so. I submitted the first time in March, twice after that, and never once got any indication that he'd received my work - so I emailed him the other day and withdrew my work. Editors have a hard job, I'll give them that, but that situation had gotten to the point of being ridiculous.

Admittedly it was a small magazine, and the man is outrageously busy, and dealing with some health issues, but if he could contact the mutual friend and have them ask me to resubmit, twice, then he could have found time to email me. It was all very unprofessional. Truthfully, it began to make me uncomfortable that he wouldn't deal with me personally - and I think it probably came off as unprofessional to him too.

Editors and publishers tend to be picky about how you handle dealing with them, and whether or not you get into their publication sometimes depends just as much on decorum as the quality of your work. I figured this particular situation had been blown as far as decorum is concerned, and after 4 months it was just time to cut my losses and stop wasting his time, and mine.

Then last night I was rejected by 2RV. Very sweet, polite rejection letter. "I enjoyed your poetry, but I'm unable to use it in the upcoming issue. . ." It isn't the first rejection I've gotten lately, but it is the nicest :).

I've been submitting much more recently than I ever used to, which means more acceptances of course, but it also means more rejections, and I'll be honest, I expected them to hurt more than they have. I've heard people say they've been turned off from writing altogether based on the tone of rejection letters they've received. I guess I haven't submitted to anyone heartless enough to have that effect on me yet!

I'm still waiting for several responses from different places, but in all honesty, I'm concentrating more on what print publications to submit to. I would like to expand my hard-copy portfolio. I've already mentioned that I intend to submit to Ploughshares. No, not that I'm expecting to get into Ploughshares, but let's face it, if I'm going to get one of those career-ending angst-causing rejections, it'll be from them, and I'd like to get that behind me :) And wouldn't my world stop turning for just a minute if I did get in? Either way, it'll be a good thing.

That's the thing with most poets, we're thin skinned and overly sensitive. We expect the world to embrace our work and love each poem like we do (as if it were one of our children) and we tend to react badly when we get rejected, because we take it as a personal affront. I tend to be the opposite.

Every rejection is a learning experience, another opportunity to be motivated to improve.


  1. Great attitude. Only one question, did he acknowledge the withdrawal?

  2. Nope, he's never acknowledged me in any way.

    I'm beginning to wonder if my emails aren't going to his spam folder for some reason.
    Or if he hasn't just decided I suck so bad he doesn't want to talk to me at all?

  3. To cheer yourself up, you should read Martin Amis's short story Career Move, set in a strange parallel universe where screenplay writers toil unrecompensed, desultorily published in obscure magazines, and poets are lauded by moneymen but see their work rewritten at a stroke: Career Move.