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Tears in the Fence: a no-tears rejection

A few months ago I sent some poems to David Caddy at Tears in the Fence. Although he didn’t take any of them for the magazine, his reply was prompt and very civilised, so much so that it didn’t feel like a standard rejection. Polite, interested, business-like, a suggestion that I send again, not a hint of condescension.

Yes, he invited me to buy a copy of the magazine (or subscribe), but not in such a way that I was felt under pressure, or even scolded in some way. I had read a copy of the magazine, know some people who’ve been published there, and have a reasonable idea of its style. I don’t think my work I was a hundred miles away.

What happened was that I did indeed subscribe, and the Spring issue was soon through my letterbox. It’s small but dense, and one of those mags that pulls you in for a big read rather than inviting a flick-through. Perhaps one of the nicest surprises is that there are many names I’m not familiar with. One that stood out for me was Cherry Smyth, with her poem ‘Connemara Swim Diary, August 2015’. The biog in the back of the mag, and a subsequent dig, tells me that Cherry has published three poetry collections and a novel. Great to have her on my radar.

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  1. I love her work too, And Cherry Smyth is also an inspiring workshop facilitator. Good luck with your next submission! And thanks for reminding me about Tears in the Fence. A quality journal.

  2. I have (somewhere on my bookshelves) One Wanted Thing by Cherry Smyth and remember being very impressed by it. Cherry was one of the editors of now defunct BRAND magazine and took one of my poems when I was getting back into writing poetry. I still remember her making a very gentle editing suggestion, in such a way that I could see how it would improve the poem. A good experience!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Hilaire – that’s interesting, I shall seek out that collection. Thank you – I’m warming to Cherry more and more.

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Robin Houghton 2024