In light of the recent observation that the pieces of mine that get accepted are rarely the ones that I expect, I went on a spree of submitting work that was fairly fresh and barely edited. I leaned right into the "I don't know" of it all and figured worst case scenario, I diversify the number of pieces I send out this year and I have another rejection to count towards my goal of 100. I decided to submit to a US lit journal, as there seems to be a wider range of content they consider in their poems. I have come to accept that there are some things I write that canlit will probably never want, like my poem about how pennies will rise up and seek petty revenge on Parliament Hill. (This isn't a real poem, but it might be after this.)
I sent out some quirky poems, some funny poems (oh, you didn't know this existed beyond our lord and savior Shel Silverstein? Blame canlit.) and then a heavy hitter to act as anchor.
The journal was located in Missouri, a place I know nothing about except for that it features in a dated idiom that my Great Grandfather used to use, "And I'm from Missouri." In the interest of learning more about Missouri, I will post the first gif that's vaguely interesting when I type "Missouri" into the gif finder and we will all be slightly better educated about our neighbours to the South.
Hope that clears things up. Anyway, little did I know that part of the reason for this saying was because folks from Missouri (at least around the turn of the century) were notoriously skeptical. Whether or not they're a more incredulous bunch than any other state dwellers, they were definitely skeptical of my poetry. I got a polite but speedy rejection that suggests they didn't feel the urge to read the writing twice. It makes sense. In this selection of poems especially, I'm not Emily Dickinson. This is not the stuff long essays are made from. It's not the kind of work you need to sit down and parse, you wouldn't discuss the deeper meaning of these poems over a happy hour date with a similarly hip individual. There was a poem that was more or less just direction puns for four stanzas.
But you won't get the chance, because they're not being published. Here's Donny with the scoop:
[WRITING REJECTION 9/100]
Dear Erin Kirsh,
Thank you for sending us "Five Poems." We appreciated the opportunity to read your work and consider it for publication in The Laurel Review. After careful review by our staff, the submission unfortunately does not meet our stylistic needs at this time. We hope these pieces can find a home in another publication.
THE LAUREL REVIEW
And now, because education is our mandate:
TEN FACTS ABOUT MISSOURI
1) Missouri is a state in the midwest, a region that to the rest of the world, seems improperly named.
2) The Missouri State bird is a blue bird, which is innocuous af. It's like they chose it because they didn't want to claim any of the cooler birds and offend some of the more volatile states, so they avoided statement birds like flamingos or bald eagles or Moltreses. This suggests to me that Missouri, if a person, would be characterized by disliking fights and would be a passive aggressive spouse.
3) Noted poet and my fourth favourite Anti-Semite, T.S. Eliot, was born in Missouri.
4) Also born in Missouri was one of the few figures who bridged the gap between sports fans and literary nerds: the notable and late Yogi Berra. He was known for quotes like, "You can observe a lot just by watching" and other gems. (I suggest you fall down this internet hole.)
5) Missouri is one of the two states with an official state grape. As a lover of fine fruit, this bumps Missouri up my list of favourite states. In the interest of good sense, I will withhold official rank bumping until I try the grapes.
6) Despite my personal esteem, Missouri only ranks 30th out of 50 in terms of best states according to an angelfire hosted website that I found.
7) Missouri was the birth place of iced tea. Good work, Missouri.
8) Missouri was also where my second favourite Anti-Semite Walt Disney grew up. (I do have a list. The order changes sometimes, but the top 5 are more or less immovable.)
9) It's a real WASPy state. Lucille Bluth WASPy.
10) It is home to the first thing every kid was proud of spelling. Of course I mean, the Mississippi. (I hear the cadence of first graders racing to spell it first in my dreams: em-eye ESS ESS eye ESS ESS eye PEE PEE eye)
I don't know about you, but I feel smarter already.
- E.B. Kirsh