How to deal with rejections

Angela Topping

Carol Ann Duffy allegedly used them to paper her smallest room. But that’s not so easy these days when so many of them come by email.
I used to save all my handwritten ones, together with the poems I’d sent out, but life’s too short to do that. In the past, editors like Peter Mortimer, of the long defunct Iron magazine, used to type feedback letters and tell the poet what he liked and didn’t like about the poems. Very few editors these days have the time and energy for that, because so many more people are submitting poetry. Bless the ones who do!

Many rejections take the form of a standard letter, offering generic advice. Sometimes they can come across as patronising, especially to people who have been submitting poetry, with both positive and negative results for many years. One size never fits all, and I would urge editors…

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