I’d say this year has been the driest year of the past five in terms of me submitting my work (poetry, especially) to literary mags. Some reasons: a) can’t afford to submit b) got tired of all the rejection c) am spending time working on my novel.
In any case, my motivation seems to come in harried fits. I feel the need to submit to contests where I can win a grand cash prize and/or I feel the need to edit poetry and send it out, ’cause why the h-e-double-hockeysticks not? I’ve started paying attention to general submission deadlines (these typically are not contest-related, sometimes themed, and usually free) and submitting to my favourite literary mags this way.
One in particular, that I’d never submitted to before, I submitted three poems to its general submission call. I forgot I submitted until I saw the polka-dotted Self Enclosed Stamped Envelope I always include in my submissions. I opened it quickly, as hopeful as I always am for an acceptance letter.
It was a rejection letter. But it was (is) an amazing rejection letter. The finest rejection letter I’ve received thus far. In fact, it’s not truly a full-out rejection letter because in the end, they’ve asked me to submit more in their next round of submissions.
Why this rejection letter is amazing:
1) It was written in the first-person from the editor of the magazine.
2) It was signed, in pen not in ‘stamp’ by the same editor.
3) The editor quoted another person as saying about my piece “It gives me great delight that there are poets who can pack both suffering and strength into a few lines. We need more poets with strength. Thank you for submitting this.” I mean – for real!!! This is better than publication.
4) The editor also gave feedback on my piece saying, “The concept was well executed and the final lines remove bleak thoughts and bring a nice touch of sensuality.”
5) In the end, the editor has requested that I submit new work in their next reading period.
Are you dying to know which literary magazine sent me this love-letter (that’s how I’m referring to it from now on)? I’ll tell you because it’s worth it to submit if you could get one of these beautiful rejection letters. I can imagine an acceptance letter is as great.
Please submit to grain magazine if you think your poetry/writing fits its style. I certainly will. And I’ll look forward to whatever response letter comes in the mail.
Thank you grain family for keeping this writer’s motivation to submit, inspiration to write, and respect for literary magazines a full-fledged blazing fire.