Friday, September 30, 2005

Burnside Review: Rejection #2

Jude-

Thanks for the submission. Unfortunately we're going to have to pass this time around.

Best of luck,

Sid Miller
Editor
Burnside Review

This is my second rejection from Burnside Review - there's no fit. I've decided to try some places twice, with at least a few months in between - before accepting there is no fit. I have tried Pedestal a few times, always rejected. I have just sent out my second group of poems to Malahat Review which is a journal in my own province- I'd like to have something published in my own part of the world. Anyhow, not much out there right now, I'm waiting to hear on a submission to Black Warrior (which I have hope for as one of the editors, Aaron Welborn , seemed to like my work on the IBPC) and a ChapBook Contest (Jessie Bryce Niles: Comstock Review) which I have zero hope for - I had intended to enter the CBC Literary Awards again this year but a labour dispute is preventing the contest from going ahead at this moment.

Man, labour disputes! There is one with the telephone company right now which has been going on forever, the teachers are in the middle of 'job-action' and now I read the hospital workers are about to begin rotating strike action.

Anyhow back to poetry and publication. Originally this blog was to record my progress. So far this year I have had 4 poems accepted for print publication. I have had three placings on the IBPC, which I value highly. The Guardian has shortlisted 4 of my submissions, which I also value. I have specifically not submitted to online journals, but have had 4 poems published in this way by special request of the editors. Put down in this fashion, it doesn't add up to much - but in truth, I am very happy and excited with everything. As well, I attended a writers workshop that was an enormous boost, I am involved in the newly formed Squamish Writers Group and we meet every two weeks to workshop, yak, do challenges, that kind of stuff, and I have compiled my first book manuscript and hired a professional editor, Susan Musgrave. I hope to have it packaged and ready to send out by the end of the year.

All in all, a good start and there is lots left to this year. Lots of cozy writing time, lots of brilliant and stormy seasonal material to work with.

I'm reading an interesting book - Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje. He writes the thing like poetry only with no line breaks. Any one of his paragraphs would throw one of our online workshops into a tailspin that would last for days. Inconsistent tense, incomplete sentences and phrases, stuff like that. If a new writer were to produce something like this it would be torn to shreds by the editors I am sure. Thing is, it's beautiful - haunting, lyrical, beautiful. And of course, completely deliberate. This writer is a true professional: "This district, the homes and stores, are a mile or so from the streets made marble by jazz."

He uses techniques I've become familiar with over this past year online - 'list poems' for example - but mostly it seems to me like this: he found a subject (a jazz musician, cornet) and did his research, learned about the times and the life, and wrote a whole bunch of poems. Then when done, he put them all together to form the story. I really like the concept -

4 Comments:

Blogger Valderbar said...

Like your "Where I live" in Tilt

6:05 AM  
Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

Seems you've gone about it opposite from me. Well, that's not exactly true. About a dozen to fifteen years ago I submitted to well-known lit mags I liked and was soundly rejected by all. When I started submitting again about a year ago, I focused on local lit mags first. I've got three acceptances so far, another one from the sole online lit mag I've submitted to, and waiting to hear on another. I've only submitted to one "major" lit mag: The Hudson Review, which I'm waiting to hear back from.

You never really know why you've been rejected. It could be less about the quality of your work than your fit with other poems chosen for that particular edition. The same poem submitted another time to the same journal for a different edition might prove successful, especially if each edition is put together by a different guest editor.

It's great you're a member of a critique group. I belong to a couple, and I find them to be very valuable and encouraging.

I'm reading The Wounded Surgeon by Adam Kirsch. Reading about Lowell in that book led me to read the section on him in Eight American Poets. One of my favorite anecdotes from that book is about how Lowell was a constant revisor of his work, even after it was published. It compares him to the painter Bonnard who was arrested for touching up his own pastels which were on display in the Paris Museum of Modern Art.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Arlene said...

Just wanted to say that two rejections from a magazine doesn't mean it's not a fit, Jude. I tried for a year and a half (regularly) before getting into Pedestal, the same goes for many other magazines. Editors, I think, like persistence.

And yay for the manuscript! You've got lots of terrific presses in Canada. Check this site out: http://placesforwriters.com (look under publishers). Sure makes me wish I were Canadian. Sigh.

8:24 AM  
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11:15 PM  

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