To Submit…

For some mysterious reason that has something to do with my browser, my old ibook, or combination thereof, I cannot comment on Word Press blogs from my home computer-no field shows up, nada. I say this to let all you fine fine people who comment know that I’ve read your comments with glee & will respond from my work computer (on a break, of course) as soon as I can.


I once had a poet friend who did not send poems to journals because he found the entire process of “submitting” demoralizing and demeaning. He was only partly kidding.

By way of C. Dale Young’s blog, I found this post by Jackson Bliss. It’s a very funny rant. A couple excerpts:

if it takes you a year to reject me, you need to send me your home address with the rejection letter so i can drive to your stuffy apartment and smack you across the head for wasting my time and feeding my irrational dreamworld.

now i’m only gonna submit my stories to the best lit journals (defined in my own way), journals that accept online submissions, and journals that give me good rejections.

new yorker: what the hell is wrong with you? does it really take you over 6 months to send me this as a rejection email:

“dear author,

we haven’t read your story and we never will because we don’t know who you are and your name won’t attract readers, so why don’t you stop sending us stories until people know who you are.”

okay, they don’t say that but they might as well. . .

I rarely submit online, because of said computer and the fact that, as I expressed re: Subtropics, I can’t tell sometimes if my rejection is a form or personal, and it goes without saying that that matters, and, as a bricks and mortar bookseller, real physical paper matters to me, too, and real physical mail, and notes with ink on them, i.e., “good rejections.”

I enjoy the process of submitting, enjoy looking through journals and deciding which will be the lucky recipient of my “artful poems” next. You’re right, Emma, it is a hopeful thing.

But holy moses, what follows, the interminable waiting, well, I gotta go with Jackson on that one. I understand the whys and wherefores, and I do my best to do my share, subscribing to many journals & buying many more off the shelf at independent bookstores (though with the demise of De Boeur’s {sp?}, the distributor of the lion’s share of literary journals, I don’t know how often that will occur anymore), but months & months of an empty mailbox can wear a body down. I know the smart tack is to send ’em out & forget about ’em, get to work on other poems. But while I get to work, I can’t help keeping another eye out for the mail.


The good news is that (I’m almost afraid to say it out loud) Vincent is honestly & truly well again. Knock wood. He’s a skinny little young ‘un, he can’t afford too much of this sort of thing!

4 responses to “To Submit…”

  1. I fear that my Internet persona may be a bit on the Pollyanna side about submissions. My In Real Life persona is more generally a grumbling, muttering wreck about such things. There are four literary magazines who’ve had my poems for over two years — two years! — and three presses who have had my manuscript for over a year, and boy do I agree with Mr. Bliss about that.

    What’s getting me today? The Insta-Rejection. I sent off a submission on Tuesday, through snail mail, from Alabama to California, and received the rejection today! Also through snail mail! Augh!

    It is good to hear, though, that Vincent is well!

  2. Ack! When your submissions come back to you that quickly, it nearly feels like a waste of postage, that they couldn’t possibly have actually read your poems with any care to return them at such lightning speed! I admire efficiency, but would it have killed them to pretend, just for an extra week?

    Editors will say we’re impossible to please, but I don’t think so. A turnaround time of anywhere from 1-4 months max is reasonable. Any shorter than 2 weeks or longer than 6 months, and I get squirrelly.

  3. Agreed. 1-4 months. It should become some kind of law.

  4. Law! — I like how you think!

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