Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet


Rejection – in life as in poetry – is something with which we all have to learn to deal in our own ways. Inevitably one will take it personally for the short moment following the digestion of the rejection slip or e-mail.
‘This is clearly absurd,’ you must tell yourself. ‘These editors do not know you and have no grand scheme to destroy your rise to poetry stardom. Besides, many magazines operate an anonymous policy whereby the selector or selectors have no idea who the authors may be.’
That usually works. Sometimes the inner voice whines back.
‘But this one doesn’t. They must hate me for sending something completely inappropriate for their magazine.’
I have to think this through. Are there editors so consumed with irrational hate for their potential contributors that they will refuse to publish the good stuff when they receive it?
‘I guess it is possible,’ I reply, ‘but I find it hard to imagine that your work could have been worse than the greetings card love twaddle that all editors must have to deal with.’
Apologies if you are a writer of greetings card love twaddle. It’s a worthy profession and a noble craft but not the sort of thing you tend to submit to contemporary poetry magazines.
I suspect someone will now send me a link to popular quarterly journal TheĀ Tennessee Greetings Card Love Twaddle Review (submissions open). But I digress.
‘One also has to consider the high volume of submissions some magazines receive against the number of pieces they can actually publish. Rejection doesn’t necessarily mean your work is bad, just that there was some very stiff competition.’
The digital age has been a double-edged sword in this respect. Yes, we have a fresh continent of online magazines and print magazines who accept e-mail and Submittable submissions, but this has opened the way for anyone to submit anything they want at any time of the day or night to about 80% of the market without leaving the house.
People who spend all their time the house without a good excuse shouldn’t be submitting poetry. I feel this is a bad idea. But I digress.
Rejection is painful, but it is momentary, and not personal.
Move on.
Keep Writing.

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