06 March 2006

Ego te rejecto

Ah, sweet rejection.

Just got news for the Canada Council that my grant application for a book-length poem got turned down. Of course, first thing I wonder is, who did get the grant?

Yesterday, Conan at Taddle Creek rejected the four poems he'd solicited from me. I think he was hoping for Funny Stuart, and instead he got Serious, Somewhat Difficult Stuart. But I thought those were four of strongest pieces I had kicking around. And one yearns to do something unpredictable in a mag that one has been in before. He asked to see other stuff, and I said OK, but I think maybe not.

And last week, or whenever it was, that I queried a publisher about my next poetry book, would they like to see it? Well, I addressed the query to an editor there who had given me Writers' Reserve money in the past. But what I got back, the same night, was a form letter, with a personalized intro, explaining their manuscript selection procedure. It was all too much bureaucracy for me. Had there been a "We'd love to see a manuscript from you, Stuart, but we can't promise anything," that would have been enough encouragement to go through the process. But instead I got the skinny on The Process, with an explanation that they receive 17 billion manuscripts a year and only publish seven of them. And it was up to me if I wanted to submit. So the editor I wrote to never got to know that I'd queried them, and presumably the person who answered my query isn't too hot on my stuff.

So it wasn't exactly a rejection. But I won't be sending my MS there, after all. My hope is to find a press that is genuinely interested in my work. Not looking for an automatic acceptance; just evidence of interest.

It's sorta fun, this thing of flailing in the wind.

Over and out.


At March 06, 2006 4:03 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one am very interested in seeing more "Serious, Somewhat Difficult" Ross work. There's nothing worse for a poet than to be typecast: he/she must always operate outside their comfort zone, and his/her readers must be ready and willing to go along for the ride. An engaged editor (or reader, for that matter) isn't looking for more of the same (book as brand), but rather for evidence that the poet is swimming in different, deeper waters. I'd rather see a poet attempt something new - even if he/she fails spectacularly - than go on writing the same old same old. Don't let one of your unique strengths as a writer - your sense of humour - also become your Achilles heel.

At March 06, 2006 4:31 pm , Blogger dana_plato said...

Interesting that for Writing/Publishing they don't tell you the recipients and jurors? They do for Visual/Media Arts, for sure... And I'm certain the other councils do this. Strange!

Hey folks, sign your comments.

At March 06, 2006 5:03 pm , Anonymous rox. said...

let me see...the art of rejection. i should know a thing or two about that. started with my mother when she gave me the bottle. then i got the boot from my father. my first girlfriend left me and moved to pakistan. my second girlfriend broke my heart. (god, i was sure she was the One, too.) my third girlfriend became first wife who later divorced me because i was always getting rejected! my first 5 books of poetry were rejected. i was fired from a job because my haircut was too short. i was fired from 2 jobs in advertising due to, the greatest compliment of all, incompetence. hell, i even fired myself from most of my jobs and relationships. how many poems have i deleted because they came up short? thousands of losers. and thousands more i thought were winners. or least i thought they had a chance. every now and then you figure a longshot has to come in. or are they all set ups? hell, i don't know. but one thing i do know is rejection makes me feel alive. sharpens the senses. offers hard perspective. no false promises or flattery or pretension. rejection is real. gritty. black and white. love and death. ugly truth. an alarm clock. nightfall. rage. revenge. war. peace. passion. desire. damn straight stu, it's the stuff of inspiration and dreams. go ahead man, dive back in for some more.

At March 07, 2006 1:00 am , Blogger dana_plato said...

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At March 07, 2006 1:00 am , Blogger dana_plato said...

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At March 08, 2006 12:35 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Of course, first thing I wonder is, who did get the grant?"

Well, it wasn't me -- I got rejected too. Last year at least I got the nice rejection letter. This year I guess I just suck.

-- maggie h

At March 08, 2006 8:57 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

you don't suck, maggie!

hmmm...like everyone else, when i'm rejected for a grant, i wonder who did get it; however, when i get a grant, i'm fully aware that i'm the "other woman"--that someone who was rejected for the same grant is wondering who got it.

ah, life on the poetry serengeti.

dani c.

At March 11, 2006 1:09 am , Blogger Clarity R. said...

Maybe it's time to lobby the Canada Council to put more money into the program.


What's going on with all this stuff-- year-ahead applications for readings, serious writers with several books under their belts not getting funded so they can work...

I say join up and tackle the Council (and related funding bodies). An end to infighting among us folk down here. Let's fight the bureaucrats instead.



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