Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Hysterical Rejection!

You may recall last December, I mentioned the Rejection Collection website, an online clearing house of humorous and painful rejection slips.

I'm thinking of adding one. A month or so ago, I sent Promise to our Terrier to a trade magazine for animal shelters. Following is their response.

Dear Christina,

Thanks so much for your poem. It was a delight to read.

Unfortunately, we've never published poetry before. If all the poetry we got was as good as yours, we might consider publishing it -- but sadly, much of it is just terrible. And I think that if we were to print your piece, we'd open a floodgate of more poetry, which would then place us in the position of looking at pieces from a literary-merit standpoint rather than the bigger issue of how helpful/relevant the piece will be for the sheltering/rescue community. Our magazine is essentially a news/how to piece for animal shelters and animal control agencies.

Proving once again not to waste your time submitting poems to non-literary magazines....

But if Ted Kooser and Billy Collins are right (and I agree that they are), we need poetry that appeals to the masses, but we also need to get the poetry in front of their eyes. Hence Kooser's American Life in Poetry project. One result of the project is getting the poems into journals that may not normally publish poetry, even as filler.

The question is, seriously, how can poetry successfully merge with the mass conciousness if poems are relegated only to lit mags more respected than read?

I think it's really ironic. Apparently, my work's too good to publish in the general publications.

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