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My recent poetry unsuccesses

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True to my pledge to blog the UNsuccesses as well as the successes, here’s the latest news.

Firstly Magma – I’ve submitted there a couple of times previously and on both occasions was rejected pretty quickly. This sets a precendent – you assume that if you don’t hear quickly, that your poem is likely to have been shortlisted. However, with different editors for each issue, I guess they all have their different methods. In this case, decisions were sent out relatively late, and several of us who had been on tenterhooks all learned more or less at the same time that it was a ‘thanks but no thanks.’

Anyway, I haven’t held it against them (how could I? when it’s their loss!!) and have now subscribed to Magma, as it does look like an interesting and wide-ranging magazine. This subscription will be at the expense of Aesthetica, which I subscribed to for a year but realised that although it was intriguing for its coverage of art, it doesn’t actually feature poetry any more.

Which brings me to my next unsuccess, which came in the form of a standard rejection from PN Review. This wasn’t so much of a surprise, as PN Review is a very high brow mag indeed, and its rejection of my work only increases both my admiration of it and my determination to one day produce something worthy of its pages.

I’m now trying to decide whether to subscribe to PN Review, both as part of my general poetry education and in an attempt to mold something they would like. If I do, it has to be a straight swap with my Mslexia subscription, but that doesn’t expire until next summer. I feel like I’ve kind of moved on from Mslexia. Although I still enjoy browsing the directory of courses & competitions and dreaming about going on a writing retreat in Italy, I get frustrated at how little serious coverage is given to poetry. Plus, recent articles about social media and blogging have annoyed me in their simplification of the issues and regurgitation of same old advice. Not exactly cutting edge.

So there we are – I still have a few things out for consideration here and there, and I’ll let you know what happens. But for now I try to do what Kipling urged – to ‘meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same” – he he.

0 Comments on “My recent poetry unsuccesses

  • Joanna Grigg
    December 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Bah! Sorry to hear it. I told you I’d inform you of my unsuccesses too – Magma (like you, above) and Ambit. I spent some time at the South Bank, Poetry Library, and had a good look at Ambit again (among others) wich simply increased my frustration at being rejected. Like you Robin, I might change some of my subs when they come up.
    And on we go…
    Thanks for the great blog, I really enjoy it,
    Jo

    Reply
  • Released1
    December 19, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Attagirl. Like your factual approach to failure and all the riches contained therein. I’ve just been writing on same topic but in rueful tone – probably because I was talking about the failure of a suet pudding rather than poetry! PS see the ESCC post

    Reply
  • Kim Moore
    December 24, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Hi Robin – I enjoyed reading this – really interesting. Keep going with the submissions – I might start blogging my unsuccessess too – once I send something out! Just waiting on the National Poetry Competition at the minute 🙂

    Reply
  • Robin Houghton
    December 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for commenting, Kim .. yes, do blog about unsuccesses if you can bear to, it is fascinating. I’ve had some really weird experiences (such as the same poems being both accepted and rejected by the same publication/same issue – very mysterious!) I’m just reading Ted Hughes’s Letters and it’s interesting to know that both he and Sylvia Plath had their fair share of rejections, so if `i start to feel downhearted I must remember that. Good luck for the National!

    Reply
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