Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dear Poet

We receive calls while you would like the opportunity to. We are not accepting. We have the latest submission thinking of us.

We cannot accept your interest in our magazine. We cannot accept the opportunity to strongly encourage you, the opportunity to "Nourish, satisfy". We are unable to comment on the following work: your future.

Your collection of poems does not meet our needs. Unfortunately, we were given a small percentage of them. Read your manuscript: it does not meet our needs, placing your work elsewhere. Work elsewhere. After careful consideration we find that your creative endeavours work elsewhere. We thank you, however, for careful consideration.

Your collection of poems makes it impossible. Feel free to publish time. If you have any further questions, read your manuscript.

Time constraints strongly encourage you. The latest submissions, they were given time. Consider us again. Submit your work, your collection of poems, consider your work. Make it impossible.

I'm afraid. Please, the best: excellent manuscripts, our future, our magazine. We can only publish our future at this time.

Thank you for time, calls. Thank you for allowing our future. We invite you to comment on publication.

Sorry!
Managing Editor


What you just read was a "cut-up" poem, made from five photocopied rejection letters from five Canadian literary magazines (part of a weekly poetry exercise from Read Write Poem). I cut up the letters into phrases or words, as seen in the image below, and fished them randomly out of a jar. I did that five times, then comprised the above poem using my favourite "sentences" or ideas -- obviously, the finished product has been tweaked a bit, but not nearly as much as you might think! Certain lines are too brilliant not to be random (ie. "We have the latest submission thinking of us" and "Feel free to publish time.").

While I have absolutely no hard feeling toward the literary magazines for rejecting my work, this certainly was a satisfying project! I highly recommend it for expired love letters and high school report cards.





        What do you think about this method of poetry? Does pulling lines out of a jar remove too much creative control from the poet, or can we use randomness to express ourselves?

18 comments:

Dorkmaster Flek said...

I think this is a perfectly valid method of creating poetry. First of all, it's art and there's no hard and fast method to producing great art, except to do it a lot. Secondly, it makes you think of things you normally wouldn't, due to the semi-random nature of the exercise.

Jerry said...

Priceless!

And hilarious, too! Clever use of "work elsewhere".

And "I'm afraid"! This just makes me laugh thinking about it. But, I'm not laughing at your rejection, of course.

I think you should submit this one to a couple of the publications. This one's a keeper!

alexis said...

i agree with the dorkmaster. 99.9% of my creative ideas come from random ideas. one of my favourite things is be involved or listen to a conversation that goes off-topic an inordinate times. i think randomness is where modern art and abstract came from. it's rebellious, it doesn't tell you want to think or feel. it is what it is and you can feel whatever you want. as most of your poems shayla, i dig this one and should submit it. toronto (& soon enough, the world) needs to read your poetry.

Mary said...

Hey this worked well!! I wasn't quite sure what it'd turn out like when you were talking about it but this is very interesting... and yeah seriously, ideas are all pretty random. There's no right or wrong way to produce art. This is just another one of those ways to get inspiration.

Shannon Teresa said...

I'm so proud of you. You are really taking this to the next level and it will pay. You write about things that matter in a way that connects the reader in unexpected ways.
I believe in you Shayla

Paul Oakley said...

I love the way this poem has the effect of that stereotypical broken robot in some movie repeating some empty phrase over and over. Certainly we wish the message were different, but that comic robotic idiocy keeps repeating and repeating. We can never purge it from our dreams. Even exorcism doesn't work...

Nicely done!

briarcat said...

Very nice. All rejection should have such a satisfying end.
The repetitions give a nice rhythm, but with plenty of variation. I suspect this one will be sold.

davidmoolten said...

This is a great idea. Rejection slips are so concrete, impersonal and terse, they make perfect anti-poems. And their utter economy, order, and sensibility make them a perfect foil for this prompt. Great deconstruction and reconstruction as something far more satisfying.

Tumblewords: said...

This made me giggle and tear up. I may have some of those same slips. A suggestion: Place a check box in front of each sentence and send it with your next submission! Who couldn't absolutely love this piece!

Cynthia Short said...

So good, and it makes me want to slap those toffee-nosed editors! Great job!

Linda said...

Creating a construction out of a destructive rejection is the perfect thing to do. Some Canadians have no idea what poetry is, or else you would be published! Keep trying. You SHOULD submit this one, Adelaide.
"Thank you for allowing our future." Priceless.=D
from the east end.

joannejohns said...

That's awesome! It works so well, and is so much fun :) So many good phrases!

djvorreyer said...

Great idea! The rhythms of the poem perfectly suit the language of forced apology...wonderful.

Derrick said...

As everyone has said, this is great fun and a good use for such letters. You have the answer in your own hands; "If you have any further questions, read your manuscript."!!

Wayne Pitchko said...

this really worked well.....thanks for sharing this

Nathan said...

This is fantastic! As much as I like the meaning of the sentences and phrases, the rhythms are amazing. Great work.

Anonymous said...

from Therese L. Broderick -- It might be fun to do a cut-up of acceptance letters, too. The two poems could be companion poems. I enjoyed reading your creative piece.

Katie said...

I like this part the best: "We cannot accept the opportunity to strongly encourage you, the opportunity to "Nourish, satisfy". We are unable to comment on the following work: your future."

And I think methods like this are perfectly acceptable ways to write or make anything. Limitations tend to inspire.