Got an email from the guys at Whitmore Press a couple of days ago re: the manuscript I’d submitted to the Whitmore Press/Poetry Idol Prize. It was a big negatory, but there were some thoughtful details in the email itself:
We thank you all for entering and if your name is not down below we, the organisers can empathise with your dissapointment as we ourselves still get rejection for our work even though we have been published a lot in magazines and newspapers.
Unfortunately rejection is part of the writing process and the only words we can add as encouragement is to sincerely say, don’t give up.
The submission in question was 150 lines of poetry from a larger manuscript, and if I was being brutally honest I’d have to admit that one or two of the poems in that 150 lines are probably still a little undercooked – when I read over them I don’t get that “yeah this is done” feeling that I get from others in the submission, and some of the other poems in the submission are ones that I’ve discussed on this blog previously in terms of them being too slight, or too wistful or too optimistic or not “deep” enough for some tastes, so maybe that was a factor too.
Continuing on that honest trajectory I have to admit that I think I’m still a way off having another solid poetry manuscript ready to go. I’ve still got poems to write that I think will contribute to a stronger overall manuscript, so for now I think the goal is to crank out at least a dozen more new poems, if not 20, and see how they fit. Putting this manuscript together, though, was a good exercise in taking stock of what I’ve written in the last few years.
Still, despite the rejection, the email was good stuff. I know it was a form email, but it was a courteous and compassionate form email and that goes some way towards mitigating the self-doubt that always comes from a rejection letter, so thanks Whitmore Press and Poetry Idol. Your efforts are appreciated.