I have solid proof that I have been once again submitting my poetry for publication; I have received my first rejection email! Whoo hoo! This truly is exciting. It at least proves I did something, even though the rejection was pretty standard, no personalized information, I take comfort in knowing that I was acknowledged, if nothing else.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am really not upset. I thought my poems might be a bit of a stretch for the journal in question anyway. Though the pieces I sent were very appropriate to the central Pennsylvania region, I was aware that they might not quite fit the needs, broad, albeit a tad ambiguous, of the journal in question. They are looking for, it seems more historical Americana, rather than a relatively recent personal connection to the history and mood of a place in America. Fair enough.
At least that’s the best I can work out. I am less concerned about the quality of the poems I sent, than about their appropriateness for the project. The advice I’ve received in the past, as well as recently, is to submit to journals I like. That means that my own work will probably more closely fit the bill of what the publications are looking for. It also pushes me to increase my reading of good journals. So if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments. I plan on submitting to Rattle and a few others soon. Unfortunately Boxcar Review is backlogged and not taking further submissions at this time.
The advice I get about rejections is that everyone gets them, many more of them than acceptances. It’s normal, especially considering the vast number of poets adding to the editors’ slush pile these days. So, again, I am not discouraged. It is worth thinking about though when looking at my recently submitted work, what might send my poems to the slush pile faster. The Sue Boynton Poetry Contest blog had this link this week to Five Marks of Oft-Rejected Poems, by MICHAEL MLEKODAY of the Indiana Review. It’s worth taking a look at.
One of the five is so obvious that it has me thinking about a few first lines that could pack more punch. I realize that weak first lines are in fact one of the biggest reasons why I stop reading a poem. If it doesn’t grab me in the first few lines. . . well, frankly we all lead very busy lives, there is only so much time. Why waste it on mediocrity? The other four reasons are worth a look too, so check out the list, but don’t panic, and keep submitting your own works too!
- Backdoor Routes to Getting a Literary Agent (publishingtalk.eu)
- My First Official Rejection Letter (cbwentworth.wordpress.com)
- Deadline Extension – The Atlantis Award ” The Poet’s Billow (objetsdevertu.wordpress.com)
- paid rejection (nvnehi.wordpress.com)
- Submit to West 10th! (west10th.org)