For the last day of National Poetry Month, even though I have plenty of rejections available to share, I wanted to share an acceptance. I think it's an important reminder that even though the ratio of No to Yes is heavily weighted towards the No, the Yeses come, and they're worth waiting for. So here we go.
It seems like every activity under the sun has a unicorn - a sought after thing so rare it's mythic, and when you find it, if you find it, you have no choice but to refer to it as a unicorn because it's so sparkly and good and uncommon. Usually when I hear the term unicorn, it's to describe a person willing to be the third in a couple's threesome. In business, an arena I'm in even less than I'm in the arena of hearing about sex with multiple partners, it's used to describe a start up valued at over a billion dollars, a number I literally had to write out the word for because I'm not actually sure how many zeroes go into it. What am I, Bill Gates? Unicorn if ever there was one. In writing, I would say it's sending out a piece that gets accepted the very first time you submit it somewhere.
I realize that maybe unicorn might be overstretching it. Having a piece accepted on its first trip off your desktop isn't on par with a start up worth a billion dollars, or finding somebody who finds both you and your partner attractive who both of you find attractive as well. It might be more accurate to call it some more common mythic creature like a wood nymph, or a talking animal sidekick in a kid's movie, or a polite seatmate on public transit.
(Many thanks to the guy clipping his toe nails on the bus the other day, that was special. Really liked watching nail bits flying around like sparrows, very atmospheric.)
I'm pleased to say that for the first time in a long time, I got my wood nymph/talking dog/polite public transit taker. My fourth acceptance of 2018 comes for a piece I wrote because I wanted to submit more work, but almost everything I had worth submitting was out. Rather than over-submit the same few pieces and risk an awkward situation where two journals want the same piece (I can dream!), I thought I'd do better to write something new. I tried writing a few poems about how I was feeling, but three false starts later, I had no poem. Frustrated and feeling like I needed to take a writing break instead of forcing my way forward through a solid brick wall, I went into my living room and stood in front of my bookshelf, prepared to pick out one of the many unread books I keep in reserves in case of emergencies like this one. Looking at all of the titles, I decided I was going to do something I'd only ever done one in a 200 level creative writing class - I was going to make a found poem. Found poetry is more or less what it sounds like: it's taking the language that exists on an object or in a piece of writing and reworking that text to make a new poem. And my house was full of great material to work with. I made up a piece and submitted it that day. Soon after, I got acceptance four.
[WRITING ACCEPTANCE 4/?]
Thank you, Erin Kirsh, for submitting your poetry to us. It is with great pleasure that I am writing to inform you that your poem, “I Found Us Tangled in the Titles Again,” has been accepted for publication into our Second Annual National Poetry Month special collection issue.
This issue is dear to our hearts and encompasses a unique philosophy: we need to celebrate the raw emotion and perspective of our submitters. While we generally will work with accepted authors to help refine submissions, this special issue aims to showcase all the pride and hard work that you’ve already put into your poem.
Your formatting, word choice, subjects, styles, and meanings were laid out with careful deliberation, and for a National Poetry Month issue we feel it best to applaud your efforts more than critique some of your most personal experiences and thoughts.
Thank you for your submission, and we look forward to including “I Found Us Tangled in the Titles Again” in our upcoming special collection issue.
So if writing about your feelings is failing you, (it fails me all the time,) hit up your house. Check your pantry. See what poetry you've built for yourself without even knowing.
Until next time,
- E.B. Kirsh