Apparently I’m well known for broadcasting my rejections, but that’s no reason not to tell of the acceptances. Just when I was thinking I’d lost my way (the second half of 2015 was particularly bleak in terms of one rejection after another) some poems have come good. Specifically: a poem forthcoming in Poetry News, another in The Interpreter’s House and three in Bare Fiction, in which I’ve never made an appearance so I’m particularly encouraged by that. Two of the five were ‘problem children’, as you can see from the stats below.
I have a relatively new-found interest – looking at the drafts/rejection history of a poem once it’s accepted to see it I can learn anything from it. I love being able to write poetry on the computer. I save all drafts, or rather I save a draft the last time I work on it during a day. So generally I save one draft per day max. Otherwise ‘version control’ would be pretty much out of control. But I find I do go sometimes back to old drafts, and it can be a great help in moving the poem forwards years later. Looking at historic drafts, scrawled across with the workings-out of poets before the word processor, I wonder how they managed to see clearly where the poem was going – all those pen and ink changes, then typing (or writing) it out again, only to find the line breaks or form just looks wrong.
Here are the timelines for each of the forthcoming poems – (they’re not in the same order as above):
Poem A – written April 2015, 4 drafts, 1 previous rejection
Poem B – written June – October 2015, 2 drafts, 2 previous rejections
Poem C – written Jan 2013 – Jan 2016, 19 drafts, 5 title changes, at least 6 previous rejections (I am so pleased to see
the back of this this one find a home!)
Poem D – written Jan 2014 – March 2016, 8 drafts, 2 previous rejections
Poem E – written November 2015 – March 2016, 5 versions, 1 previous rejection
Interesting that there’s really no pattern to all this, but I think it does show that the ‘bottom drawer’ thing is useful – at least a couple of these poems had been put away for some months before I got them out and worked on them again. Of course, there are plenty of others in the bottom drawer and who knows if any of them will come to anything. But the process is fun, isn’t it? Just as long as SOME of them find homes eventually.
One thing I’ve noticed is that (if one can believe the hype!) submissions to magazines seem to be ever increasing, and magazine editors are under more pressure than ever. In this climate, congratulations are due to those editors who manage expectations and communicate well about where they are in the process. I hope, for their sake, that giving Facebook or website updates reduces the number of email enquiries from individuals. I certainly feel that the submissions turnaround times are at least as good as they always were, despite the rising tide of submissions.
Rejections (actually I prefer ‘Failed Submissions’)
On the thanks but no thanks front, in the last couple of months I’ve seen 5 poems sink without trace in competitions and 9 poems rejected by magazines. Ah well.
I now have nothing outstanding – eek! Must get something out!