I am sure that most writers have been frustrated by the rejection notices where editors tell you how much they enjoyed your poems, but…
You know that “but.” It’s the rejection part. It starts a chain reaction in your brain. Well, if you liked the poems, why didn’t you accept them? That makes no sense. Why don’t you like me? I wonder what this means. I need some chocolate.
Well, maybe you skip the chocolate part. But I had a small editorial epiphany last night as I read through the latest issue of Beloit Poetry Journal (from whom I have received these types of lovely rejections more than once). As I read, I noticed that there were repeated strands running throughout the issue’s poems: the color red, mentions of blood, of lost parents, of wounds.
And a little lightbulb went off in my head – this could be what these faceless editors meant. They were pulling a thread with the poems they accepted, and my poems would have unraveled the tapestry. And it made me feel better. Way better. Even if that wasn’t the reason my poems have been rejected (not just from BPJ, but from any journal), it gave me a sense of reassurance that editors have good reasons for their choices, even if they are not readily apparent to me.
So, the last few responses I have received (rejections, all) are now viewed with a different perspective. The poems are good. They just need to find the right home, one where they will be woven straight and true into the right context.