Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Share Your Submission Stories
Until Robert Hershon, editor of Hanging Loose Press, took a chance on Sherman Alexie, he was just a Wellpinit Indian from Spokane, WA, you'd never heard of. William Stafford often told the story of not feeling quite legitimate until the The Hudson Review (correct me if I'm wrong? Was it Poetry?) took his poem, "Traveling Through the Dark."
I don't know about you, but when I get together with other poets, I love swapping submission and publication stories. I love hearing about someone who sent relentlessly to a magazine for 12 years, collecting a half a dozen or more blank rejection slips, then finally getting the word on acceptance. I love hearing about the little poem that could--a poem that came back in the mail ten or twenty times, and then BOOM: acceptance, Poetry Daily, six anthologies, the works.
But I am not picky. I am not looking only for stories about big magazines or huge sums of money for book contracts. I love first poem acceptance stories (my first poem was published in Denali, the literary magazine of Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon (don't tell me you've never heard of Denali?): I was thrilled to pieces to see my work in print). And I love hearing what's been said on rejection slips, both the form part ("Dear Poet . . . ") and what gets scribbled beneath it.
If you care to share your stories, please post them here or send them to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. With your permission, I will use your name and story at an upcoming panel on the submissions process, which I'll be sitting on this April at Get Lit! in Spokane, WA, where I hope to run into Sherman Alexie, that National Book Award author.
Thanks in advance for sharing!