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Katlin Profile
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Sample Rejection Letter


A friend recently submitted to Rattle and received the following rejection letter:

Thank you for letting us consider some of your work, but unfortunately we’ve decided not to publish any of these pieces. I want to assure you that your work has been taken under careful consideration—at least two editors read each submission, and I’m always one of them.

 This is a form letter—necessary with a tiny staff and all these submissions—but what I’m about to say is sincere: Unlike most literary magazines, we don’t directly solicit work from anyone; we feel that practice isn’t fair, and doesn’t make for a good magazine. Instead, we read a great number of poems—over 80,000 each year—and publish our favorite 150, regardless of who wrote them. The odds are always going to be long, but that’s the only thing that keeps the quality of the magazine as high as it is. We always appreciate the opportunity to read your work—that’s what we’re here to do.

 Also, it should go without saying that our decision to return this submission doesn’t mean much. We’re just fans of poetry ourselves, and all tastes are subjective. Moreover, we’re always looking to make the magazine as eclectic as possible—often we end up turning down submissions that we enjoy, simply because they’re similar in tone or content to other pieces we’ve published.

 In any event, thanks for continuing to share your work. We’re happy to read submissions any time, year-round—and we just announced that we’ll be paying all contributors $50 per piece, too. So hopefully we’ll always be at the top of your list for places to send new poems.


 Best Wishes,
 Tim

--
Timothy Green
Editor / RATTLE
12411 Ventura Blvd / Studio City, CA 91604
tim@[sign in to see URL] / [sign in to see URL]


One editor reads 80,000 poems a year? That comes to about 219 poems a day, every day. Even if someone only read the first line or two of each poem, that's still mind-boggling.


Last edited by Katlin, Mar/14/2014, 10:02 am
Mar/14/2014, 9:26 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sample Rejection Letter


That's too many poems to read. That's like a processing plant, factory farming, a feed lot.
Certainly not something to boast about.

Tere
Mar/15/2014, 12:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Sample Rejection Letter


I can't believe anyone could read 80,000 poems a year. That got me to thinking. The editor says he reads each submission. If a submission is five poems, that would make 16,000 submissions each year. Maybe he reads one poem--or a couple of lines from one poem--and counts that as reading a submission? That would mean reading around 44 poems--or parts of poems--each day. That's still more poetry than I would want to read on a daily basis.
Mar/17/2014, 8:17 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sample Rejection Letter


Kat, you get me to thinking. Just a stray thought. There are some poets I can only read a little at a time. Maybe 6 poems in a sittting, certainly no more than 10. The reason has to do with the affect their poems have on my body. Too much protein maybe. Or too rich. Too unsettling. Or something. I can only take them in short, punctuated phrases of time. Three such poets that immediately come to mind are Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath. Makes sense?

Tere
Mar/22/2014, 3:00 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Sample Rejection Letter


It absolutely makes sense, Tere, and underscores the fatal flaw in trying to read dozens of poems daily in assembly line fashion.
Mar/24/2014, 8:29 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
GaryBFitzgerald Profile
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Re: Sample Rejection Letter


Caveat emptor.


Last edited by GaryBFitzgerald, Apr/25/2014, 10:50 pm
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