Thursday, August 09, 2007

Self-Presentation III: The Conclusion

I'm sure you're all aching to know how my submission to the Yale Review went and how the Open Mike went. :)

So here's a wrap-up of my past two posts on self-presentation. I got a rejection from the Yale Review very quickly; on my July 27th post I claim to have mailed the submission the previous day, so it must have been July 26th that I sent it off, and I got the rejection August 8th. 13 days. Well, at least they made a decision quickly so that I could move on instead of waiting and agonizing.

Still, as used as I am to getting form-letter rejections (which I think are perfectly OK) I was really surprised at the curtness of this one. They don't even use an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with a 2-line message--which I have come to accept as common protocol, acceptable. What they have instead, friends, is a business card. A business card that states: "We want to thank you for your kindness in letting us see your work, and regret that we must use this form to let you know that we have not found a place for it in..." what comes next is a line break, followed by the publication's EXTRA LARGE logo as the last thing they leave you with. As used as I am to rejections, I must admit that this has set a record, a new expectation, for editorial curtness and cheekiness (a perfect match, admittedly, for my curt and cheeky cover letter).

But on to the good news!!! You do want to know how last Thursday's Open Mike went, right? So okay. What I attended was the August installment of a year-long series in which 2 featured poets read on the first Thursday of each month. That evening's featured poets, Linda Fischer and B.E. Kahn, each read for half an hour, and then there was a 10-minute break, followed by the Open Mike, at which each audience member got to read one poem (and there were about 20 performers). I went with the crowd-pleaser, by the way--and the crowd's reaction was great. In fact, on my way out, the series host asked if I would like to be part of the series!!! (And it's a series that contains 2 of the well known Philadelphia poets I interviewed for my summer dissertation!)

This is a big deal for me--although in retrospect, years from now, it probably won't be--because it's the first reading that I've had that isn't a class reading, college lit mag reading, or Open Mike. Not a reading by "the Short Fiction II class," or "the 2005-06 contributors to Bryn Mawr's literary magazine," but a 30-minute Anna reading! I've never been offered that much floor time in my life! I'm going to buy me a dress to celebrate. Any suggestions for an appropriate outfit... not too flashy, but not too casual? ;)


Writer, Rejected said...

Hey, congrats on the rejection letter. It may smart, but think of it as a rite of passage. Check out more at for more on the topic. Maybe you'll want to air your rejection in a public (anonymous) posting. It'll make you feel great.

Unknown said...

Hey, very nicely done. Buy something the color of Homer's wine-dark sea. It's very in this season. Accesorize with something ochre and with Italian-style sunglasses. You're bound to slay.

And as for the rejection letter, I'm jealous. The Barcelona Review can't be bothered to respond even to my follow-up message, five months post-submission, asking whether I'll ever hear from them.

noah m. said...

very awesome, anna! hope your long reading is a great experience!

i've received a good half-dozen "business card" rejections. seems the "big guys" use them... they probably get so many submissions that they feel guilty using so much paper. it feels slight, but whatever. i've been waiting on a few journals for over a year (even after a follow-up query).

i got a handwritten comment on one once... i forget who, but there was only enough room for a couple word sentence. something like, "thanks, submit again! -Eds."

me said...

Congrads, Anna. An occasion as wonderful as this definitely merits accessories. Buy yourself a nice purse or handbag to match the dress. Something that every time you use it afterwards reminds you of your success and risk-taking that paid off.

Miles Newbold Clark said...

Don't worry about the size of the card, Anna. The Paris Review uses (or did use) something similar, and their their rejection isn't a card, but a piece of paper. I have gotten two types of cards from them. As far as I can remember, they go like this:


"Thank you for submitting your work to the Paris Review. We regret that we can not make use of it at this time."


"Thank you for showing your manuscript to The Paris Review. We are interested in your work and would like to see more of it."

Most large magazines hesitate to comment specifically on work, because if they do the next thing that will happen is the would-be contributor will send them thirty stories. Getting anything more than "thanks, submit again" is almost impossible at any larger publication.

Anna said...

Considering that I am a broke college student, I'll probably just get a Milkboy t-shirt (name fot the cafe where the series takes place; though for the first half of the year it took place at Barnes & Noble, which is now closed at Bryn Mawr, to the disappointment of students and profs). But thanks for the dress/accessory advice, friends--it's really sweet. :)

Conor Robin Madigan said...

you ever think of starting a rejection query spreadsheet? I'm doing it with some folks at my school and it's working pretty well. We all have about twenty or so magazines we're researching, finding out the best way to send, and times to expect rejection responses so we can better navigate the ropes. ANyway, good luck. I've been rejected over 550 times now. Most of them are in a file behind me. Some are in book form under my feet.

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