Monday, October 12, 2009

Dear Kind Editor,

I humbly beg your pardon. You are one of a small and select group who received a particular submission packet from me in August. In my rush to return to the world of poetry, I fear I spoke too soon. I sent forth these few half-formed darlings in a less than beautiful state. It is only now, upon quiet reflection as the rejections arrive one by one that I have realized my mistake. My only hope is that you erase this episode from your memory. I've heard tell of the mountains of poems that you receive each day, each month, each year, & Etc. May you find it in your heart to lose all knowledge of this one particular lapse in my judgment and not hold it against me (or my now more darling poems) upon future attempts at pleasing you enough to guarantee my words are published.

May it be so.

I am resigned,
Your Reckless Submitter


This subject has been on my mind for the last two weeks. The poems in question I felt quite strongly about in August. So strongly that I disregarded the very smart comments of my faithful friend, Tara Bray. I shrugged her off, when I know better. (T., I'm so sorry!) You see, the poems were too new, and I made the same mistake I've made in the past (although not too recently). I rushed the poems out into the world before they were old enough for me to see them clearly. Today, I did not start a new draft as I had intended. Instead, I was recording rejections, and as they often do, they sparked revisions. Finally, finally, I saw what Tara meant about the ending of one poem. I began to tinker with one line and low and behold, I rewrote the last five lines of the poem. It seems that however long I've been working and reworking this process, it's never long enough. I stumble at the same points. Yet, I am heartened by the fact that I seem to stumble less often now.

Along the same lines, Victoria Chang has a post up about the errors she sees in manuscripts submitted for book contests. It's one of those dangerous posts that sends me back to my binder, scouring The World Made of Such Weather as This for any transgressions named in the article or post. Still, I think it is a valuable reminder. And some of the things she describes, I've never done, so I do get to feel a little reassured by that.

Now out into another gray and drizzly day here in central Arkansas. (For the love of God, where is the sun?)


Anonymous said...

You cracked me up w/ this post. I send things out too early ALL the time. For some reason I just love my newer work--guess in the same way I smile so when I see a new baby. Of course these days, I am just happy to have time to send something out period--the good, the bad, the ugly. It is such a rare and delightful event to find a moment to sit down and stuff those envelopes.

Have a good week!


Sandy Longhorn said...

Hope you are finding the moments, Tara!

Anonymous said...

An enlightening post by Victoria Chang, thanks for that -- I always worry I could be one of the offenders. Not that I've submitted my MS yet, but it's imminent, and I could easily be blind to its flaws...

Speaking of which -- if it helps the recent rejections go down a bit better, I really enjoyed your poem in the new Cave Wall! The "We reach the dead" anaphora is terrifically effective.

Sandy Longhorn said...

M. Thanks so much for the kind words! They certainly do help battle against the rejection blues. That poem took a long time finding a home, but I was so glad it wound up at Cave Wall.