In my last post on this happy subject, I listed the most commonly used words in rejections. Since sometime in 2015 and continuing now, rejection statements seem worded differently and better suited to the found poetry idea I mentioned (and haven’t yet acted on). “Not fit” and equivalent still turn up. I think this might be code for no rhyme and meter, but I also think that might be a little nuts of me to think.
Some comments take a bit of study.
This decision is based not on the quality of your work but rather on the narrow focus and objective constraints of our journal.
Our direction for the next issue of Lunch Ticket was simply different than the vision of your work. (What?)
Others, apologies and regrets
We’re sorry we can’t use it, but we appreciate having the opportunity to consider it
Though we were glad to have the opportunity to experience your writing, we are regretfully going to have to pass
I regret to inform you that your poetry has not been selected for publication on the homepage of the Society of Classical Poetry.
While we have very much enjoyed reviewing your work, we’re sorry to say we have decided not to proceed with your submission for Issue 3
Unfortunately, we’ve decided to pass on your submission. Poetry is subjective. Keep writing. Keep submitting.
This is from Booat, and I’ll submit again.
How should we feel about rejections? The second sentence of the last comment is the key. I think that poems are passed over mostly because they didn’t stand out sufficiently to catch an editor’s attention, and of those that stand out, only one or two would make it further. A non-subjective reason is that “doesn’t fit” means exactly that, and this is the poet’s fault for not noticing that the writing is nothing like the writing in the publication. Rhyme and meter for prose poem journals? I’ve made this mistake a number of times, so now when I check a new publication I look to see any sign of scanned verse or at least a strongly rhythmic poem with a rhythm I can hear.
And another non-subjective reason: Three to five percent of all submissions to a given issue are accepted, and I think three percent is the real number.
So, calm down. Take another look at the thing, fix something you might have missed, and fire it off again.