Reading, Writing, Rejections, Acceptance

February already and what is everyone up to? I really enjoy Robin Houghton’s blog so I thought I would follow her example and share some of what’s been happening in my life. Robin reports regularly on what she’s reading, where she’s sending her poetry and where it’s been accepted/rejected. She also shares information gleaned from the writing workshops she’s attended, something I find generous and helpful.

On the reading front, I’m still enjoying Ted Hughes’ letters, a massive brick of a book that I keep dipping in and out of. I wouldn’t say that I’m learning about writing from it and I don’t know if it is a wholesome thing to know too much about a writer’s personal life. In some ways it feels rude and intrusive to delve into his letters, in other ways it is fascinating to learn, for instance, of Hughes’ belief in astrology and alternative health treatments, his desire to earn enough money to support his family and still devote enough time and energy to writing, his search for the right place to live and for the best writing environment.

As well as the huge Hughes book, I’ve bought lots of poetry books and poetry magazines in the last two months, although some of them were Christmas presents. Have a look at my stash, you will no doubt recognise many of these:
Recent poetry purchases
I can’t do justice here to any of these just now, perhaps I’ll try in a later post. There are wonderful poems in all of the books but the ones which have knocked me off my feet the most (so far) are the ones in Rebecca Goss‘s first collection, The Anatomy of Structures. These are shocking, often exhilarating and sensuous poems about sex, desire, fear, ageing, family life, among other subjects. I’m thrilled to have discovered the work of this exciting poet and I’m so looking forward to her forthcoming Carcanet collection, Her Birth, which is about the death of her young daughter.
And on to the hoard of magazines I’ve recently subscribed to:
poetry mags
Since I want 2013 to be the year that I try submitting my work more frequently, I thought it would be a good idea to get to know more poetry mags. I’ve subscribed to Poetry Review and The Rialto for a few years now, I’ve also subscribed to Cake and Iota in recent times and bought one-off copies of The North and Magma, but I’ve added some names to my list and I’ve been enjoying reading them.
In terms of of my own submissions, I’m not keen on talking about them because I feel I’m tempting fate, jinxing my chances, etc. But I will come clean and say that in the last two years I’ve submitted work to and been rejected twice by Iota and Smiths Knoll (the latter, sadly, no longer being published). Last year I was rejected by Poetry Review (who am I kidding? but, worth a shot) and this year, so far, I’ve been rejected by Tears in the Fence and by Envoi. I’m waiting to hear from two other places – I’ll reveal where once I hear from them.
But, to end on a cheerful note, I have had two poems accepted by Domestic Cherry and I’m looking forward to seeing them in print in May. Here’s a pic of an earlier edition. Thanks, Robin, for inspiring me!
Domestic Cherry

5 thoughts on “Reading, Writing, Rejections, Acceptance”

  1. Thanks for your generosity here Josephine, re submissions and rejections. My new years resolution was to be rejected more. I’ve rarely dared submit until this year. I’m writing a blog post (right now) on similar lines in that I’ve just photographed the books and journals that are at this moment forming a leaning tower perilously close to over-reaching its ambitions TBC…


  2. Thanks Josephine! Congratulations on ‘Domestic Cherry’ and fabulous that you support so many magazines. I don’t blame you for not naming the places you send to (until you hear from them) as I’m the same. Admitting to rejections sounds like a negative thing but actually I do feel that the act of making it public it gives me some sense of closure, not sure why. On the subject of which, I had another ‘no thanks’ today, albeit a polite one – I’ll mention it when I next blog 🙂


    1. Yes, I’m torn between a desire to be modest and discrete and a desire to share what I’m doing with others. Although I’ve now joined a regular writing workshop (in Swindon), I am isolated in terms of not being around people who understand what I’m doing. It’s a relief to be able to ‘talk’ about it here. Look forward to your blog. 🙂


  3. Very best of luck, and congratulations on the success already. It’s a long process, and you’re not alone! I too enjoy Robin’s posts: it’s great to hear about how other writers are approaching all this.


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