Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Yesterday I submitted a long poem which was written on the death of a former lover, who had been living in Minneapolis. I submitted the verse to the online journal McSweeney’s knowing within a short number of weeks they will, in turn, reject the confessional style piece. In part, the act of submitting doomed material to a journal lies in the region of a gentle, subtle nudge to their editorial board that a slight change to their submission guidelines is in order.

Yes. I read their complete agenda carefully. Cautiously. I respect the magazine for the diverse nature of their published material. I respect their concepts of themed sections on the website. One section I regularly read requests “open letters.” Humorous, sarcastic prose-pieces addressing a person, or object, or abstract concept that will never respond in kind. This notion, in fact, is the stabilizing groundwork which most poetry is based: talking to someone in the past. Sending irritating odes to historical figures. Or melancholy rants to former lovers. Even allowing a chance to get the last word against your parents’ values.

However. McSweeney’s does not want poetry submissions in this section. Only prose. McSweeney’s wants overt humor. McSweeney’s wants a specific word count.

In itself, humor is subjective. Generating dark humor is difficult and even more subjective. Least of all in poetry. My cover letter discussed this small series of fact. I was polite. I was respectful. I was (hopefully) humorous. Sarcasm and humor are not my greatest skills. I just wonder what form the rejection note will take.

fabric swatches
worn thread
faded spool
rusty needle
tarnished bell
calligraphy brush

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