#100rejections — June Totals

Accountability check-in! But first, what is #100rejections anyway?

I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. Submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance. I’m aiming for 120 submissions by September 30 to accomplish this.

June, 2017 — 8 Rejections, 4 Acceptances, 5 New Submissions (oopsy)
Year to Date, 56 / 10 / 69

  • Diode, Rejection*
  • Wildhood Project, Acceptance
  • After the Pause, Rejection
  • The New Yorker, Rejection*
  • Guernica, Rejection*
  • Frontier Poetry, Rejection
  • BOAAT Journal, Rejection
  • Salome, Rejection
  • Rise Up Review, Acceptance
  • Sixth Finch, Rejection
  • World Enough Writers Beer, Wine & Spirits Anthology, Acceptance
  • Onyx Neon Shorts, Acceptance (?)**

*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. See my January Totals post for details.

**This one is still debatable to me – a poem I had withdrawn from this packet was originally accepted by this market, and when I called their attention to the withdrawal email I’d sent, they kindly inquired about the availability of a second poem in the packet instead. The catch is I have not heard back yet confirming they are definitely taking it. We’ll see what happens!

Noteworthy to me, I’m more than half way to my goal of 100 rejections at the 6 month mark, and June ended up being my densest acceptance month to date. Hooray for the midway successes!

This was a challenging and time-consuming month in terms of Life Activities. Summer started so childcare issues came to the fore, and with my daughter’s father away on a job contract, all childcare planning fell to me, as did the childcare rearranging as plans slipped through my fingers with alarming and exasperating regularity. Between missing her daddy and graduating from her favorite school, my little had a lot of needs and processing to work through, so that is what we did. I definitely fell off the submission wagon as a result, but that’s how it goes sometimes, and I regret nothing. In related news, my daughter is being well cared for, and I am getting an A in Literary Theory, which, can I just say, is a mind-blowing class, and completely relevant to certain cultural and social ills we are experiencing today. Just sayin’. Support the arts. They are trying to support you.

Tune in next month for July tallies!

#100rejections — May Totals

Accountability check-in! But first, what is #100rejections anyway?

I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. Submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance. I’m aiming for 120 submissions by September 30 to accomplish this.

May, 2017 — 14 Rejections, 0 Acceptances, 16 New Submissions
Year to Date, 48 / 6 / 64

  • Sutra Press, Rejection
  • Brittany Noakes Poetry Award, Rejection
  • concīs, Rejection
  • Rattle: Poets Respond, Rejection*
  • Santa Ana River Review, Rejection*
  • Copper Nickel, Rejection*
  • Third Coast Fiction & Poetry Contest, Rejection*
  • Chroma Magazine, Ghost rejection**
  • Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, Rejection
  • Plume Poetry (again), Rejection
  • Bellevue Literary Review, Rejection
  • Hematopoiesis Press, Rejection
  • The Sun Magazine, Rejection*
  • Bracken Magazine, Rejection

*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. See my January Totals post for details.

**Some markets will only respond to the authors whose work they accept for publication, meaning if your work is not accepted you will simply never get a definitive answer. With the uncertainties already inherent in the submission process (like technical issues, lost email, etc), this is a deal-killer for me in terms of where I will choose to submit. While this non-response policy is usually stipulated in the market’s submission guidelines, occasionally a market will not advertise their non-response policy, or may change their policy after I’ve submitted. With Chroma, my submission had gone well past the estimated response time according to Duotrope, and when I looked at the guidelines on the website again, the journal was no longer accepting poetry. I took this to be a so-called “ghost rejection.”

Tune in next month for June tallies!

“Song to a Mirror” (2011)

The Furnace Review is now defunct, but before that, they published this (no archive available):

Song to a mirror
First appeared in The Furnace Review (2011)

5/2 was the day you got good at “Whatever,”
that game of leaving-first without leaving.
You’d had the scent of happiness
over that last hill this morning,
but now it’s lost,
dispersed into untraceable atoms
across the neighborhood—

the same neighborhood where things have changed,
and M_____ and R____ stand in the yard screaming
for two hours in the morning.
“You promised me something!”
I don’t deserve you!
and you didn’t know what that meant, either,
not really.

Bending without breaking
is easier than it seems,
and more dangerous.
It leads to standing in yards at 7am
and hurling decibels at your love
who volleys them back,
well-placed arcs that shred the neighborhood
with their fictions we believe.

Nearly 40,
on loan to the planet,
you believed in “special” until this morning
when you lost the scent of that, too,
in the untraceable atmosphere.
It must be fluttering among the dogwood blooms
and Confederate jasmine—
40 feet up the pine, out of sight
among the unremarkable tree limbs:
you’re just like everyone else
and you’ve lost so many poems that way,
you can’t possibly be bitter—
maybe now you can get some sleep.

#100rejections — April Totals

Accountability check-in! But first, what is #100rejections anyway?

I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. Submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance. I’m aiming for 120 submissions by September 30 to accomplish this.

April, 2017 — 6 Rejections, 1 Acceptance, 11 New Submissions
Year to Date, 34 / 6 / 48

  • New Delta Review, Rejection
  • Reservoir, Rejection*
  • Gulf Coast, Rejection*
  • Words Dance, Acceptance
  • The Emily Dickinson First Book Award, Rejection
  • American Poetry Review, Rejection*
  • Likely Red, Rejection

*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. See my January Totals post for details.

Tune in next month for May tallies!

#100rejections — March Totals

Accountability check-in! But first, what is #100rejections anyway?

I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. Submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance. I’m aiming for 120 submissions by September 30 to accomplish this.

March, 2017 — 8 Rejections, 1 Acceptance, 7 New Submissions
Year to Date, 28 / 5 / 37

  • The London Reader, Rejection
  • Bennington Review, Rejection*
  • Yemassee, Rejection*
  • Razor Literary Magazine, Acceptance
  • Gamut, Rejection*
  • A Public Space, Rejection*
  • Black Warrior Review, Rejection*
  • New England Review, Rejection*
  • The Adroit Journal, Rejection*

*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. See my January Totals post for details.

Tune in next month for April tallies!

“the angry boy” up at Right Hand Pointing (2010)

**EDIT: “the angry boy” was also accepted for publication as a reprint, and is now up at Ekphrastic Review (Dec, 2017). Many thanks to Lorette Luzajic! Head on over to ER for some wonderful poems, all of them art-inspired.**

This poem first appeared in RHP Issue 33 (2010). It was one of the first where I received an acceptance that then included a fairly substantial revision via editorial collaboration. Thanks to RHP for the confidence and support!

the angry boy

the angry boy with one hand
will cut you up if you’re not careful
or just because he feels like it
and don’t you look him square
unless you want to fight or fuck
the cogs and screws of pity
just don’t move things around here

The concept was inspired by a self-portrait taken in 2009. A previous version of the poem included the phrase “…lifts the smooth blunt / hammer of his rage…” *:

angryboy

* Please note, I am not an amputee nor can speak for those who are, nor do I desire position myself in any way that could be construed as marginalizing or ableist. The photo above has not been retouched — it is a trick of the shadow captured by chance that inspired a creative moment for me, moments which arise out of a desire to be more empathetic toward my fellow humans and the variations of the human experience, and to tell deeper and truer stories as best I can. 

#100rejections — February Totals

Accountability check-in! But first, a recap from my first #100rejections post:

I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. Submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance. I’m aiming for 120 submissions by September 30 to accomplish this

February, 2017 — 7 Rejections, 2 Acceptances, 8 New Submissions
Year to Date, 20 / 4 /30

  • Hermeneutic Chaos Press, Rejection*
  • Animal: A Beast of a Literary Journal, Rejection
  • West Branch, Rejection*
  • Memoryhouse Magazine, Acceptance
  • Rust+Moth, Rejection
  • 32 Poems, Rejection*
  • FIELD, Rejection*
  • FLARE, Rejection
  • Uppagus, Acceptance

*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. See my January Totals post for details.

Tune next month for March tallies!

A poem in the Peacock Journal Anthology

Peacock Journal, in collaboration with Little Red Tree Publishing, announced today that they have put out an inaugural anthology of poetry…and I am honored and thrilled to report that one of my poems from the collection of 5 they published online in December was selected to be included in this beautiful journal.

Buy your copy on Amazon, or directly from Little Red Tree Publishing.

If there was ever a time you could use a little more truth and beauty and beautiful truth in your life, consider supporting the arts (here, or anywhere).

Peace.

#100rejections — January Totals

Seeking publication through traditional channels means you’re going to get rejections. I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. For the purposes of this goal, submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance .

To stay transparent, accountable, and perhaps to help inspire other writers out there to share their art, I’ll be posting monthly updates on my progress. I’m sort of fascinated at the internal response to this challenge — it has been invigorating, and has definitely made me cherish the “No” responses all the more.

Logistically, I’m aiming to submit 120 times by September 30 (allowing for a response time of 3 months for the market to notify me of their decision).

January, 2017 — 13 Rejections, 2 Acceptances, 22 New Submissions

  • Love & Ensuing Madness (Rat’s Ass Review), Acceptance
  • Hermeneutic Chaos Press, Rejection*
  • Threepenny Review, Rejection*
  • Eyedrum Periodically, Acceptance
  • Amuse-Bouche, Rejection
  • Whale Road Review, Rejection
  • FreezeRay, Rejection
  • THRUSH Poetry Journal, Rejection*
  • Ploughshares, Rejection*
  • Plume Poetry, Rejection*
  • The Golden Key, Rejection
  • Foundry, Rejection
  • Synaesthesia Magazine, Rejection
  • Baltimore Review Contest, Rejection
  • Nanotext Contest, Rejection

*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. I’m going by the imperfect but convenient standard according to statistics recorded in Duotrope, the site offering comprehensive databases of markets to submit work to combined with submission tracking. They collate robust response statistics and from these data, create a variety of “Top 100 ____” Lists, including things like fastest response times, friendliest and most approachable, etc. I’m gauging “top-tier” based on the Duotrope listing of the Most Challenging markets (lowest acceptance ratios) and No Acceptances Recorded lists. I’m using their statistics to help me determine what markets are likely the most competitive to get into, and therefore more desirable to have on my tear sheet to build my credibility and reputation as a poet.

Tune on March 1st for February tallies!

“The Press of Time” in Filled with Breath

This sonnet first appeared in print in the anthology “Filled with Breath: 30 Sonnets by 30 Poets” edited by Mary Meriam in 2010. Thank you, Mary! Dedicated to my son, with love.

The Press of Time
First appeared in “Filled with Breath” Sonnet Anthology (2010)

I watch my son, asleep here in his room—
His arm’s gone wide, his mouth’s gone wide; he snores.
His hair’s a loomless, amber bale— not white
like mine was at his age. He’ll soon take flight

from coddled nestling ways, he’ll lose the down
and comfort of his youth—time presses on.
There is no lift in words; I have no right
to use my landbound tongue to speak the light

that splits me in the prism of my core.
With all the atoms in my I’ll adore
him through the thermals and the chartless course
he’ll call his life. For now, I’ll watch the moon

chase pencilled inches up the jamb; too soon,
too soon! There’s nothing empty as a womb.