If you’re a writer and you submit your work, rejection letters are a part of life. They are generic and carefully worded, so as to let the rejectee down as gently as possible. My poem is crafted out of sentences from actual rejection letters I have received (in bold). Note: I obfuscated or changed proper names to protect the innocent. Sandwiched between the sanitized lines are my own sarcastic additions (in italics). If you’ve been snubbed, you might as well have some fun with it.
Greetings from the LALA-ZINE staff
tasked with drafting rejection letters
Thank you for allowing us to consider
how appalling poetry can be, owing to
your recent submission, WHATEVER
which, quite frankly, took the cake.
We recognize the effort you put into
ignoring the clearly stated guidelines for
submitting this piece, and regret that
because it is a complete waste of paper,
it doesn’t meet our needs at this time
or at any other time, for that matter.
Rest assured, it was read thoroughly
by a sleep-deprived, first-year intern
and given most careful consideration
as in, What the hell were you thinking?
before being returned to you by mail
in the SASE you so dutifully provided.
Ultimately, simple editorial preference
for quality work over hackneyed refuse
guides our choices; it is not a comment
OK, you got us… it actually is a comment
on the merit of your particular piece
one best suited for the recycling bin
Although we are unable to accept it,
(our congenial euphemism for rejection)
we wish you luck in placing it elsewhere
You are going to need it, in this situation
and in all your future writing endeavors
Take my advice, don’t quit your day job.
Mae B. Nextime
First Assistant to the Assistant Editor
and Voice of Your Harshest Inner Critic
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