Word of the Week-Quietude: Notes From the Rejection Front

My poetry has been labeled. Well, one of my poems has been labeled. Read the following comment from my most recent rejection:

It falls in the vein of what some might label \”school of quietude\”.

In some instances, as I mentioned in a previous post, having a personal note means something good, means that there was maybe a possibility that the poem or poems might have been chosen. This, however, is not one of those cases. How do I know? Well, “school of quietude” translates roughly, or not so roughly, from stuffy academic speak into plain English as “boring.” A simple “no, thank you” might have been easier to swallow. The other comments ranged from constructive, which I gratefully appreciated, to bordering on patronizing.

So, it hurt a little, but what I learned after reading the comments and going back to the site is that my poems really weren’t a good fit, and I’ll take the constructive criticism and use it when I look at the poems again, which I will do. I should have read that disconnect better, but that’s okay. 

I don’t hold it against them for not accepting the poems. They were right not to accept them, and they may be doing me a service by telling me one or all of them are a boring.  I could rehash the ongoing argument of whether poetry should be accessible or not, but each side has its opinions, and it really doesn’t help to keep jabbing back and forth. Highbrow venom passed as constructive remarks, however, is a different story.

Back to the drawing board.

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4 thoughts on “Word of the Week-Quietude: Notes From the Rejection Front

  1. Jeannine Hall Gailey

    Just wanted to say that I don’t think their note meant your poem was boring – just that it was not experimental enough. Ron Silliman, who coined the phrase, uses it to include all poets (Billy Collins to Kim Addonizio and on and on, including many great poets) – who aren’t extremely experimental – so don’t feel you’ve been labelled boring.

  2. survivorscribe Post author

    Thanks for the perspective Jeannine. I did sort of realize that. I’m not all that experimental and I should have read that from the work in the magazine. I guess I just misread work there. Thanks for the encouragement, though. I’m actually feeling a whole lot better about it and really posted this as a transparency into the process that a working writer goes through, illustrating that rejection is frustrating but isn’t the end of the world and that you just move forward from there.

  3. Linda Cruise

    I like what you learned from the experience and how you used it as an opportunity to grow, rather than to brood. :)

    Keep at it–what other choice is there, really? Wishing you much success!!


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