Thursday, December 08, 2005

Malahat Review : Rejection #2

No salutation

We regret that we have decided not to publish your work. The Malahat Review receives many excellent manuscripts and can only publish a small percentage of them. Thank you for thinking of us. We wish you success in placing your work elsewhere.

No signature

Poems :
The Popcorn Girl
Hey Tree!
Fruit Flies
Where I live
Have Dinner Ready
Nothing to Say
Still Fingers

Another disappointing rejection - this is a magazine printed in my own province of British Columbia. I had hoped to see my work printed somewhere closer to home. The submission date was September 19. Rejection date - none on note - December 7 received in mail.

I started this blog to track my progress into the world of publication. It has been almost a year since my first post. I have no other poems 'out there' at this time, other than my submission to the CBC Literary Awards. From that contest, I hope to be shortlisted. I also have a poem entered into the IBPC (How He Loved the Ugly Woman) courtesy of Blueline.

And that's it for 2005. My feelings overall are ambiguous at the moment.



Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

I think I read in Stafford somewhere that "poetry is the way of life, publication is just the hobby." He claimed he got published because he sent more poems out than anyone else. Given an acceptable quality, and given a certain percentage will accept, then the more attempts the more acceptances.

In the late 80's early 90's I submitted to several mags: Field and Sulfur particularly. Got all rejections. That, and getting married, having some of my circle of poet friends move away, and getting into software development, led me to give up poetry for about a dozen years. It can be demotivating to be rejected. Now it doesn't bother me. First, I have been accepted by some places, both in print and online, by people whose judgement I respect. And I get much positive feedback from public readings and critique groups (and also some negative feedback as well.)

I think persistence is key, but not just persistence to be published, but the determination that writing poetry is what you want to keep doing, that you keep getting ideas for new poems, and that you desire to keep polishing your craft. I think, if you make a habit of obsessing about poetry, so that poetry, not publication, is your goal, then you stand a better chance of writing the kind of poetry that will succeed, and the publication will come. I find that most people who call themselves poets are not really serious about it. They find excuses not to go to this critique session, or to hear that poet read, to read this book of poetry, or to read that article on technique. Some err on the opposite side, and spend so much time in theory and criticism that their poetry, when they have time to write a little bit of it, is as dessicated as an old dusty book shelf.

You know the old saying: a writer writes. Keep writing poetry, no matter how the quality fluctuates. You'll know what to show others and what to hold back, but keep in the practice. If that's not enough for you, then publication won't save you.

6:28 PM  
Blogger SarahJ said...

Hi Jude,
I just found your blog. Don't be discouraged. You know it's all half random out there. I much enjoy your poetry and I'm gonna go over to IBPC and find Hey Tree now. bob is right, or is it wm. stafford, publication is a hobby.

11:29 AM  
Blogger SarahJ said...

sorry, i forgot to say it does indeed suck when even a rejection slip is not enclosed. how rude is that? I got a rejection from a journal last week. I knew it was a rejection because of the heft of the envelope... all my poems in it, and it also looked like there was no slip inside. But there was. It was jammed under the fold-over at the back of the envelope. Nevertheless, I was also at first flabbergasted that they'd just cram the poems back in and not say even "properly" reject me. smile.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

So far one magazine (print pub, but online submission) never got back to me at all. I had to query to find out. Won't ever submit to them again.

I submitted to the Hudson Review last spring. My return envelope was small, and I asked they just send back their "thumb direction". So far haven't heard back from them, so I have no idea what's going on. When I submit to them next spring, I'll query them on my first batch. They were my best poems at that time, and if they don't want them, I'd like to free them up, since I don't multiple submit.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Jude Goodwin said...

Hi Bob and Sarah

Thanks for dropping by with your excellent observations and experiences. Publication is a 'hobby' - I like that and it is really true! Well, I've decided it's not much of a hobby - I have others that I prefer.

Bob - your point about sending out lots rang a bit of a bell. I don't really send out many poems - and like you, I don't like to multiple submit although every now and then I do it without really meaning to. I enjoy contests - and I really enjoy the online workshops. They have been my best poetry experience so far, aside from the actual writing.

But, every new year, I like to set up a plan. 2005 the plan was to seek publication. I'm not sure what my plan will be for 2006. It might be to support all the online journals and play a bigger part in the online world of poetry. I'm miles away from the nearest 'center of learning' - for me the online world of poetry is pretty much the whole world of poetry - except for books of course. I'm going to buy myself lots of lots of poetry books and books about the craft of writing. I already have a bookshelf full!

I'm just not understanding why a poem that wins or is short listed in an online event such as the IBPC or the Guardian would not be chosen by a magazine like Malahat - local poet, new poet, a piece that isn't entirely bad. Wouldn't they make the effort to publish? Even if it doesn't suit a current theme, it could be kept for a future issue.

Oh well, onward ho


12:54 PM  
Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

>I'm just not understanding why a poem that wins or is short listed in an online event such as the IBPC or the Guardian would not be chosen by a magazine like Malahat - local poet, new poet, a piece that isn't entirely bad.

I don't know if it can be drawn along general lines of print vs. online, but different people have different aesthetics. Also, if you submit poems similar to what you've already seen in the mag, they may reject because it's nothing new, but if you submit something very different from what's in the mag, they may reject because it is not right for them. It may be much like re-entry from space, there's a very narrow corridor in which you can land safely; otherwise, you either bounce off the atmosphere back into space, or you burn up in the atmosphere.

I think the trick is to find something which appeals to their aesthetic sensibility, but does it with such novelty that they sit up and take notice.

I think it's great that you plan to read more poetry and poetry craft (and, I hope, criticism.) If you have a used bookstore nearby, that may be a good source at a reasonable cost. And there's lots of poetry available on the web (see my blog for links.)

I'm reading a biography of Byron now. I didn't come across anything quotable until about page 400 or so. When I'm done, I'll post some excerpts on my blog.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

Oh, and remember, too, that sometimes rejections have less to do with quality of what's submitted and more to do with the thematic concerns of that particular issue. If the work doesn't fit into the theme/s they may be implementing to give coherence to the issue, then good work can get passed over.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

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1:28 AM  

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