I have submitted quite a bit in the last three months and have also received quite a few rejections. In fact, the last week had been all about rejections. I know I shouldn't take rejections personally. I know everyone gets rejected. Most of all, my poems have also been accepted by journals in which I have long wanted to be included. But somehow, this morning's rejection is making me feel really really hopeless. Part of it is just that lately I have been feeling horribly depressed, unsure about my academic work, my academic identity. I have tried to hold on to my poems in the midst of this crisis as that last straw-- something that will remind me that I am not just another number in this PhD machine. That's why, when X Journal wrote in their rejection letter:
I enjoyed the related themes of these poems, but they seem more like prose than poetry.
I felt so distraught. And the feeling hasn't left me ever since. I know this is not a mean note per se, in fact there is also a hint of praise here. And yes, the packet I had sent did contain some prose-poems. Yes, the poems I am writing right now, are experimenting with the limits between prose and poem. But, somehow this rejection is making me feel frustrated. It's as if the universe is telling me “you suck,” “you're nothing,” “your work means nothing.”
I don't know how to deal with this lingering feeling of insecurity other than to take solace in the fact that all writers had been rejected at some point. And yes, now I need to go back to my writing-- the poem I have been writing for the last three days, and the dissertation that has been craving my attention.