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  • Writer's pictureerinkirsh

The Losing Game: Writing Rejection 10/100

Happy National Poetry Month! Also, happy tax, exam, grant writing, and allergy season. Good times. There's a reason T.S. Eliot, who you may recall is my fourth favourite anti-semite, refers to April as the cruellest month in the first line of his famous and extremely long poem The Waste Land. Whatever else he says in that extravagant ramble of his, (I never got past the first line,) he drops a serious fact early on: April can be a rough one. In 2010 when I was still in University, I tried to offset the harshness of April with saturated fats by making it a cruller month, but the people at Tim Horton's began to show concern in the second week, so I quit that practice and went back to chocolate dip donuts because I'm five years old.

Now that I am no longer 20, it's harder to pretend that donuts every day is a reasonable way to safeguard against April melancholy, so I just do what everyone else does and put off doing taxes until May. (Okay, June.) I also observe National Poetry Month. I celebrate by hiding from other poets in person, but wearing out the like button on all of their 30/30s and feeling genuinely impressed by everybody who gets past 9. Hands-off support is my favourite kind of support to offer. For those of you who have managed to cultivate a friend group devoid of poets, (perhaps you know me from Smash Brothers circles or my amateur beer pong league and your new proximity to poetry is an unfortunate, unasked for side effect of our friendship) 30/30s is a practice poets adopt in April where they write 30 poems in 30 days. These poems are often shared on social media so that authors can be kept accountable by their friends and community and share their work. 30/30 is a great idea that I wholeheartedly endorse and have never been successful at. It's excellent because odds are good if you're churning out a poem a day for a month, at least a couple of those pieces are going to be good, and a handful more could be salvaged. I'm unsuccessful because I have no discipline. (I refer again to cruller month.) And who has time for 30/30 during April, the cruellest month of the entire calendar year? (I actually think November is worse, and probably February.) I don't, because I'm too busy racking up rejections. Even when literary establishments are off the charts busy, they still find time to make like underrated British Invasion band The Zombies and tell me no.

For example:



Dear Erin, Thank you again for submitting your writing to Canthius. While we really enjoyed reading your work, we're sorry to let you know that your submission was not chosen for publication. Please keep in mind that we only publish a very small portion of the work we receive and that a rejection doesn't always reflect the quality of your submission. We wish you every success in placing this work elsewhere and encourage you to consider submitting to us again. Our next round of submissions will open this summer. All our best, Canthius Editorial Team


There's no "no" quite as real as one that comes in peak poetry season, and in the words of appropriately rated 1970s super group Queen, "another one bites the dust."

Until next time, - E.B. Kirsh P.S. I'm now accepting bets on how many new poems I will write this April. The songs I make up for my cat to the tune of Chattanooga Choo Choo don't count towards the total number or else I would exceed 30/30 by the 10th of every month.

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