For years, poets have grown accustomed to rejection in several forms (as in rejection forms) and the occasional nice note. However, there are some editorial practices that need to be done away with for the good mental health of poets, who already have their mental health called into question for working tirelessly at their craft for little or no money (myself included).
First, there's the case of editors who don't include any sort of note--even a form letter--with rejected poems. I totally understand if you can't afford to print up form rejection letters, but surely you at least have a pen that can write something on the poems. The word NO would probably convey your meaning.
No note gives poets a false sense of hope. For instance, they may think, "Hey, there was no rejection included, so maybe...maybe they liked what I sent?"
Don't laugh. Poets are a hopeful people.
This is even more bizarre than the no note tactic. After all, the poet sent poems and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Where did the poems go? Where is the confirmation of rejection? Keep reading.
My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg
We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard.
The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip
and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer,
either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped
the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first
to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to
let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction
of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.
We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet
in those moments of a cold November day, we watched
a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat
a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline, concis, Gargoyle, The Westchester Revie…
I've had fiction and non-fiction reviews published in quite a few journals and have been a member of the National Book Critics Circle, when I could afford it. Therefore, I feel quasi-professional in those arenas. I don't necessarily feel that way about my poetry reviews. I have opinions, though, and in the interest of keeping my poetry-mind occupied during an otherwise stressful time in my life, I'd like to make you, the poetry world, an offer. If you mail me your chapbook or book--at least 24 pages but no more than 100 pages, self-published or traditional--I will post a review of between 150 and 300 words about it, as professionally as I can, in the following months. Promise. Mail me your book, get a review. Easy. If I get a huge response, I'll declare a cap and communicate it here. I would prefer to work from print copies. I hate reading poetry in PDF or MOBI--my preferred methods for prose--because the lines never break correctly and I find myself critiquing lineati…
Crisis Chronicles Press
Nicole Hennessy's Gypsy Queen, #109 from Crisis Chronicles Press, is a representative small press text in many ways. Filled with free-verse poems that tend toward the long and discursive, the book is arranged in such a way that the poems' performative aspects are in full effect, with strong voice and lots of sound-play. In "Vultures," a poem in five short sections, the speaker says to the potential partner "Tell me everything about me./Leave no room for me to tell you." which is a nice effect, as potential partners in the beginning usually say "tell me everything about you," so it's an intriguing beginning. We know this speaker is all ego from the get-go, doubling down on that initial statement by confessing just a few lines farther down:
I knew we'd walk to that cemetery together I wanted to tell you something about myself through those streets alone, along which I'…