Even when you know that with any given poetry magazine receiving maybe 3,000 submissions a month, the chances of acceptance are minimal, it can be a rough push in the chest when yours is rejected.
Against the inevitable sense of invalidation that defies the hard logic of numbers, I have submitted very few poems in years. In general I’m not prolific: my output is relatively sparse so what goes out is pretty much all I’ve got at any given time.
But over the past couple of years I’ve found myself more creatively busy than in a very long time. Lockdown, walking the dog I’d fought against acquiring for years, this season late in life – all powerful stimuli, I guess, for now doing regularly something that I’ve done in bursts ever since my teens.
So recently I submitted groups of poems to magazines once again. Not this time just to a selection of the excellent little known publications that abound on the internet, but to the best known and most highly regarded ones. I have much less time in front of me than there is behind so it’s now surely that this man’s reach should exceed his grasp! And in reaching further I set myself up, of course, both for almost inevitable rejection and its corollary dejection.
No surprises, then, that to date Poetry London and the members’ page of Poetry Review have said no thanks. However, with that grasp in mind, I’m delighted that London Grip is taking two poems for next spring. But even on the back of that success I’m far from optimistic that the other poems are going to find landfall and I regret greatly not having pushed back harder a long time ago. Maybe had I spread the words more energetically and celebrated success more loudly , then I’d be occupying a bit more shelf space now!