I’ve been having my work rejected by various poetry journals and publishers for a long time. And I don’t keep a list of all my rejections, as it whiffs of being a bad sport––plus I don’t keep that much paper in the house! Also, think about all the booze I’d have to drink to dull the pain.
Case in point, I have a poem that I’ve been working on for over a year, and it’s going to get the gold medal in the “consistently rejected” category. The most recent NO THANKS came from Calyx:
Dear Jiwon Choi:
Thank you for your recent submission to CALYX. We’re happy to let you know that “Existence” was among the small group of submissions held for final consideration by our editorial collective. However, our editors ultimately concluded that your submission was not right for us at this time.
They went on to offer feedback on another poem that I’d sent in, of which I was appreciative because most places don’t bother to extend themselves this way––usually you get a form letter and “buh-by.” But I’m still not sure what about this poem was “not right” for this journal at this time: Theme, length, tone? All of the above?
I could ask them, but part of me doesn’t want to know. Poetry is subjective and our connection with it is visceral, which can make it tricky to explain why we like the poems and poets that we do.
Thanks, but no thanks.