Me and Roger McGough

I’ll go back a couple of days for this one.  I had an email yesterday. As is customary I have had three haibun rejected by the editor who always rejects me.  He thinks there were some interesting points but they aren’t quite there yet. He has been thinking that for around two years. I have submitted to him half a dozen times and have failed to find favour every time.  Two years of being “not quite there yet” seems like a long time – in that time I have had haibun published in six other journals.

I don’t mean I should be accepted very time I submit, or that the rejecting editor is wrong. Even the magazines that generally accept me don’t do so without the odd rejection, and once in a while I get a hard time from one of the editors demanding changes I don’t always want to make. When that happens, I get annoyed with myself for not writing to a high enough standard. That’s not difficult to cope with.

However, when you are consistently turned down by one editor you reach a point when you have to wonder if it’s worth the effort, and whether he is looking for something I can’t produce.  I’ll probably try a few more times, because each rejection is one more for the year’s list. I’m supposed to be aiming for 100 rejections and have only made 22 submissions so far this year. I’ve been a bit lazy recently, so need to up my game. It doesn’t do me any harm to get a few rejections because it does make me sharpen up, the only proviso is that I want to send stuff out that has a chance of success, and that takes time. Recently it has been taking longer than usual.

Anyway, that’s a rejection, and the lessons to be learned from it. I will now go back by another day.

My copy of Acumen arrived. I has two of my poems in it. They were shortlisted in February and accepted in March, so it’s been a while. I have become so used to the rapid internet world of most haibun magazines that this seems a long time. It’s the 100th edition and is bigger than usual, and is very glossy. To say I was pleased with myself would be an understatement.

When I opened it I found there were quite a few famous poets in there, Mimi Khalvati was on the opening page and Roger McGough was about half-way through. I’m right at the back, but it doesn’t matter, I’m still in a magazine with some famous poets. I’ve been in magazines with some notable haibun writers too, but none of them as famous as Roger McGough.

It took a while for me to calm down after that, which is why the Saturday rejection bounced off me, and why I’ve had to wait until now to write about it. It’s probably very un-Zen to be too excited about this sort of thing, so I also had to watch out I didn’t upset any passing haiku practitioners with my unseemly showing off.

20 thoughts on “Me and Roger McGough

  1. Lavinia Ross

    Getting published along with the famous is quite an honor, and you are a good writer, Quercus. Keep writing! Robert Pirsig was rejected 126 times before “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was accepted and became a best seller here. Sometimes you just have to find the right publisher.

      1. Laurie Graves

        I understand. One can certainly go too far. But we also need to promote our work, too. A tricky balance. Anyway, keep smiling! You are a gifted poet, and you work hard. Plus you are willing to keep learning. Toot that horn!

  2. tootlepedal

    I think some showing off is quite in order. Indeed not showing off might be considered as a form of humble bragging which is to be deplored.

    I often casually let it drop that I am correspondence with a published poet as I feel it adds lustre to my persona so now I can add that he has been published in good company and get even more lustre.

  3. jodierichelle

    Show off sir! This is fabulous news! I cannot imagine how excited you were to hold that magazine in your hands and see your work amongst that of those whom you respect. Bravo to you, Simon.


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