Tag Archives: rejection

A Rejection Letter To Myself, circa 1994, As I Imagine It Would Have Been Written By The Editors Of Ploughshares

Dear Ms. McColgan,

Thank you for submitting some of your poetry to our prestigious quarterly journal. We receive many submissions and regret that we cannot personally contact each and every writer. In this case, however, we’re making an exception.

How can we put this nicely? Frankly, we can’t, so we’re going to let you have it with both proverbial barrels: this is histrionic vomit that you are passing off as “poetry.”

Capitalization is your friend. Ellipses and dashes are not your friends. They should not be used in place of proper punctuation. You are not Emily Dickinson. You are not even Gertrude Stein. Learn the rules before you break them.

If we were your ex-boyfriend, we’d have broken up with you, too.

Prestigious Quarterly Journal That May Or May Not Be Affiliated With Your Choice Of Graduate School


I am sliding phrases

built along drifting analogies of suffering sophomoric-


I am as complicated as your breaths,

And as easy as the girls my friends all lay-


I am decisions to be made,

times to adhere to,

and things to be respected-


But I am juvenile,

and your hand tastes better than any dish you ever plated-


So forgive this era of ours

and the leaders my head elects-


They make beautiful platforms,

full of promises as they are rot-


I wanted to take you along,

but this ribcage said it only held space for one-


And he doesn’t even like me that much…