Ten Honest Rejections

reject

Your poem has been rejected. Again. But don’t you wish the rejections were a bit more truthful? After all, we live in an age where “truth” is under siege. It needs all the help it can get. And boiler-plate rejections are just so impersonally vanilla. Let’s try a little chocolate pizzazz, shall we, because if we’re going to get rejected, we might as well enjoy it a little, no?

  1. Dear Writer: Thank you for your recent (as of 14 months ago) submission. We really didn’t read it because, well, we’re pretty elite as poetry journals go (and they go), and we receive upwards to 500 submissions a day, most of them as awful as yours. Thanks for the $5 reading fee, though! Yours, Kevin Ka-Ching, Editor-in-Chief.
  2. Dear Writer: Thank you for your most recent query about the considered-long-lost submission that must have fallen behind our inbox 18 months ago. We have found it and brushed off any e-dust bunnies as a gesture of respect. Please accept our sincere apologies for the length of response time for this rejection. We trust, being a poet, that you understand.
  3. Dear Writer: We started reading the first of five poems you submitted and, eight words in, knew you didn’t know the first of five things about writing poetry. We’re good, no? (Your eight words, on the other hand, aren’t.)
  4. Dear Writer: Do you really count yourself a poet? Does your house really lack a mirror? Perhaps it’s time you looked honesty in the face. Or at the very least, started bothering the short story market’s editors. End of story.
  5. Dear Writer: Thanks for the laugh. Really.
  6. Dear Writer: Thank you for your Poety Zine submission but, to be honest, these are not Poetry Zine kind of poems. We like politically-slanted work, especially ones that rail against the New Fascism taking over the world like unfree verse. In a similar vein, we like pop culture poetry–works that mention things readers care about like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, selfies, texting, and uploaded photographs of food.  Your poem about snow and birches and crows (of all things!) was lost on us.
  7. Dear Writer: We opened your submission only to find that you are not a known writer whose name would lend credence and panache to our journal’s cover. How disappointing. Try us again. When (and if) you have a name, we mean.
  8. Dear Writer: Your first poem contained the words darkness, lovely, very, cerulean, shards, and dog. News flash: No, no, no, no, no, and no poem can succeed once it’s swallowed these words.
  9. Dear Writer: Do you know the first thing (or, should I say, the last thing) about line breaks? What are you, winging it here? Is not poetry a science? An art? Are you willing to put in the time before you waste ours? We are all volunteers here, short on time and money and, like most poetry ventures, about to disappear into Internet vapor at any moment. Be kind and do your homework. Please.
  10. <a moment of silence / OK, more than a moment / utter darkness / very lovely darkness / cerulean-shards-inside-a dog-darkness>
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