Thursday, 30 June 2011


Had a very useful letter of rejection from Poetry London today. Those who routinely submit to poetry journals will be familiar with the dreaded printed slip. I'm taking it as a positive thing, then, that this slip (which, coincidentally, did have printed on it 'apologies that we are unable to offer personal responses') did indeed have a personal message from the editor, making a brief suggestion as to how I might overcome one of the poems weaknesses. Given the stature of PL, I take some consolation from a personal response because the editors must receive hundreds, if not thousands of submissions for each issue and mine got a constructive response. So, I'll edit the poems and I'll send them out again.

I remember two pieces of anecdotal evidence to do with dealing with submissions, both those that succeed and, more often, those that don't, from Gill McEvoy and Rebecca Goss: the former told an audience at an open-floor that you just keep checking the door mat; keep sending the work out there and the latter, Goss, told our Creative Writing seminar that it took about ten years of submitting and resubmitting to countless journals before she'd gotten the deal for her first collection. I think her general rule was that if a poem came back a fourth time, she knew there definitely was something wrong with it. Given that this is the first time this batch of four poems have been rejected, though, I think I'll stick at them, with only the slight tinkering that I've just been kindly suggested.

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