I’ve received 14 rejections so far in 2017 and am aiming for 100. Good for me! The more poems I submit, the better I understand the marketplace.
Edited to add: I’m a bit uncertain about having used the word “marketplace” above. In reality, I learn and understand poetry by submitting and then evaluating rejections against the poem itself. But couldn’t the marketplace mean something good? Something colorful, vibrant, with jugglers and street musicians on narrow, teeming streets filled with a cacophony of voices of different timbres and pitches, speaking a multitude of languages? That’s what I envision when I think of sources to place my work. I don’t think of a coldly calculated business transaction.
And so I’m beginning to understand the role that editors play in my poetry. The editor and the poet meet after the poet submits a poem. Some editors get and like my work, others don’t. Some editors inspire me through their editorial visions to write on certain topics or to improve my use of certain poetic elements, all in an effort to attract them to my work. This process enriches my poetry. I’ll go through my pile of rejected poems to figure out if the fit with the rejecting mag was poor or if the poem itself needs more work.
Thank you to the poets who have read my work in draft form. Though critical comments help me figure out how to transform raw poems into publishable works, the positive comments are what keep me going when it’s just me and the poem, caught up in the struggle of wringing clarity, beauty, and meaning out of words.