In case I wasn't getting rejected enough on Valentine's Day, my good friends the lit journals thought they would keep my head from inflating too much and kick in their two cents about my poetry. Ironically, my love poetry for a love issue.
I was excited about this love issue, because unless there's a specific call for it, you can't really submit love poetry. There's this idea that I kind of agree with that love poetry is a bit unsophisticated and sophomoric. If I were an editor for an unthemed issue of a lit journal, I wouldn't want to be bombarded with love poems either - that's what male-driven pop music is for. But the thing is, despite the fact that most of us aren't sending out our love poems, we all still write them.
Oh, sure, we're not always proud of it, but it's universal. Even non-poets and non-writers write love poems. No lies now, I know you sat in your high school bedroom thinking about that person in your second period class or the hot young teacher or Marissa from the OC and you vomited your romantic pangs and inclinations in shitty rhyming couplets all over your journal. Or on printer paper, not everyone's fancy.
I think you could craft a decent argument that love was the impetus for poetry. I wouldn't read it, but I think you could do it. A lot of what has survived of ancient poetry is love poems, and there's still a market for them. I worked at a book store for awhile, and often, misguided people would come in and buy a thrown together compendium of love poems for their significant other titled something like "100 love poems that make men cry" or some nonsense like that. (Hint: Most people do not want to read a book that is only about one thing. I don't. And if I wanted to feel emotionally manipulated, I would just watch This is Us.)
See, I know current television as well, not just mid 2000s teen classics. I watched said modern show in my bed while eating a pizza without using a plate on Valentine's Day. Also, I got my fifth writing rejection of 2018.
Now I know that my love poetry is not particularly romantic. A lot of it is really more: "damn it, my rational head stops me from engaging in ridiculous whirlwind adventures with exciting douchebags, ahh, the glamour of the life unlived" than "ohh my love, your nearness makes me want to compare your body to landscapes and heavenly bodies pun pun pun." So I'm not Neruda or Hafez -
- and I don't mention birds and lake plants enough to be Canlit's darling. This leaves me in a bit of a precarious place when it comes to love poems for Canadian lit journals.
But I still write love poems. We all do. It's kind of a vital urge. That's why, despite not being included in it, I'm super excited for this upcoming issue. I will probably read it in one siting while eating pizza without a plate in my bath tub. I want to see what you strangers love like. And I know I talked some shit earlier about books that are only about one thing, but let's not pretend I don't love magazine theme issues. I actually adore them. Sports Illustrated taught me be into themes at a real young age and that shit stuck.
So I'm going to read the hell out of this issue, and hope there is at least one poem in there about Marissa from The OC. If there isn't I may have to write one. Who knows. It might get published on relatability alone. (Fun fact: My partner is reading this somewhere shouting SUMMER! SUMMER FROM THE OC! and I'm having a great time about it.)
[WRITING REJECTION 5/100]
Thank you for submitting your work to the LOVE issue!
We received so many wonderful submissions and appreciate your contribution. Actually, we received enough LOVE to fill the next four years of Prairie Fire!
Unfortunately, we only have space for a fraction and regret having to let you know that we can't accept your work at this time.
Thank you so much for allowing us to consider your work. We wish you all the best with your writing!
So, Happy Valentine's Day from your friend at The Losing Game. I hope you are now capitalizing on the heart-shaped discount chocolate and that you are looking after your undoubtedly gargantuan bouquets responsibly.
Until next time,
- E.B. Kirsh