The writing life is like that: a decade of sending out poems, maybe every year, maybe twice yearly, to a place that feels so right for one's work but that keeps saying no (or maybe, no thank you). And then, one day, a yes arrives, usually in a way so quiet and understated that the acceptance feels inevitable. For more than a decade I submitted poems that I thought of as AGNI-esque. That's what I called them, when I folded these poems into a business envelope along with cover letter or SASE. That's what I called them, when (later on) I uploaded Word documents via Submissions Manager. AGNI-esque. But they weren't, until suddenly they were.
Those other poems, the ones that failed to find an entry point--they want on to find very good homes elsewhere.
This isn't a post about failure or anticlimax. It’s another in my long series of meditations on the necessity of sticking. The rejection becomes an opportunity (1) to revise or (2) to send the work elsewhere. The writer isn’t a stalker but, rather, a lover engaged in a rather dedicated form of courtship. Wooing can last many years. And, like anyone in love, you have to keep believing that the pursuit has meaning, not only because your beloved is beautiful and brilliant and has a great laugh but also because the very act of chasing one's desire has a kind grandness, a nobility. I always come back to Tennyson: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, / Or what's a heaven for?" A poet's reach should exceed her grasp, or why else does she write poems in the first place (said someone awkwardly)?