poems, rejected, the writing process

Rejected: The 2011 backlog

I’ve been remiss in documenting my submissions of late, but this morning I was tinkering with the spreadsheet I use to keep track of what I’ve sent out and what’s been sent back, and I noticed that 2011 has been well serviced by rejection letters to date, more’s the pity.

To date the following poems have been knocked back this year by the following fine journals:

  • “My Mango Flower”, a poem about love, bees and (funnily enough) mangoes, inspired by this fabulous blog on mangoes in sanskrit poetry, was passed on by the lovely folks at cordite when I submitted it for their Australian/Korean joint issue.
  • “The Modified B Plan”, a mashup of dialogue from the immortal Pirhana 2: The Spawning was politely declined by the stalwarts at Linebreak when I offered it to them for their inaugural Two Weeks ebook anthology.
  • “If We Detached the Hands of the Town Hall Clock”, a short bit about being late for my train, was non-judgementally spurned by the sweet Mr. Cooper Renner from elimae along with a lovely aside about his admiration for the poem’s conceit. The guys at cordite also passed on this one.
  • “Again” (published here on this blog previously) and “Forty Dollars” (previously known as “Shop” when published on this blog), two musings on the vagaries of dadness and childhood pastimes, were eschewed by the Popshot crew, though this was largely because I missed the deadline by a day (d’oh).
  • “You Start to Ask a Question”, a somewhat (too?) slight and airy attempt to capture a moment of vagueness, was no-thanksed by both the corditeers (Aus/Ko issue again) and the aforementioned Mr. Renner.
  • Mr Renner also declined “The Faint Red Impression”, a poem about train toilets and beanies (as previously seen on this fine blog), and “commensurate with skill”, a minor observation about people’s varying degrees of talent (also previously seen on this blog).
  • Finally, the Poetry in Film Festival did not accept any of the three poems (“Knee”, “Dilemma”, “Love or Indigestion?”) I offered them, said poems having already seen the light of day in Not Quite the Man for the Job, which was published over ten years ago now (!). (Congratulations to Belinda Hilton for having her poem “Four Letters, Three Words” picked as the 2011 poem.)

The nature of these rejections have run the gamut from cheerful and considerate (elimae, cordite) via professional and polite (popshot), all the way through to provocative-of-consternation-due-to-lack-of-any-response-whatsover-compounded-by-the-accidental-discovery-of-rejection-by-virtue-of-seeing-the-issue-in-question-after-it-had-been-published (Two Weeks, Poetry in Film).

(I know people are busy, and the number of submissions always outstrip the ability of editors to properly attend to every one, and that sometimes emails get eaten up by spam filters and email addresses fall out of spreadsheets, but when your rejection isn’t accompanied by notification of said rejection, it kind of grates.)

This time around I’m pretty confident that none of the above unaccepted poems need more work to realise their full potential (although “You Start to Ask A Question” still raises questions in my mind at times – is it TOO slight? Is a poem about vagueness doomed to being too vague itself to work properly?), so they’re all getting back on that horse and heading out again – in fact “The Modified B Plan” has already been sent out to the swingers at Going Down Swinging for consideration, and not to tempt fate but I’ve got a feeling that those guys might have room in their hearts for a b-movie mashup bit like that.

I’ve also continued to submit to the guys listed above – only this morning I sent a poetic response to Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” (which I’m quite proud of, to be honest) to the Linebreakers, which is my fifth shot at getting published by those guys, with is either obsessive or optimistic, I’m not sure which.

We shall see whether the news upon their return is better than that received previously.

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