So far this month I have received two rejections and one acceptance.
I began to think about the position that writers, poets in particular, put themselves in - to be accepted or rejected.
No one forces us to write and submit ourselves to the mercy of editors. Most of us believe something inside of us forces us to write and subsequently submit ourselves to the mercy of editors.
Rather than considering the drive to write and where that comes from, which is where this line of thought usually goes, I've been thinking about the drive to put ourselves in a position of acceptance or rejection.
For me, and after many years of hardening myself or conditioning myself not to associate the rejection of a poem as a rejection of myself as a person, although I do believe this to be true I think still on an unconscious level the two are inseparable. So why do I do it?
The other side of the coin is that every acceptance of a poem is an affirmation of my worth, of my being, my existence even.
I wonder if by submitting poems and inviting the inevitability of rejection I am playing out my fears, or past experiences, of rejection in 'real' life. And maybe if I can experience rejection in the confines and under the control of my writing life it will somehow magically save me from rejection in my interpersonal relationships. Also if my universal human need for acceptance is also met through my writing then I am not quite so dependent on having that need met in my personal life.
In this sense writing becomes an emotional buffer zone where the feelings of acceptance and rejection are experienced in a safer and more controllable space than in real life.
On a different note...
I think there is something mythical about writing poetry - admired poets past and present become absorbed in the greater project and historical continuum of 'poetry'. When I am reading poems, the authors of them, whether dead or alive all exist together in the otherworldly arena of poetry. So when I received an email from Eavan Boland taking a poem for Poetry Ireland Review it was as jolting as receiving an email from Seamus Heaney would be - someone who lives and exists in the great realm of poetry. That's my way of saying I'm very happy not just to have a poem in PIR, but to have one accepted by Eavan Boland is very special to me.
Also this finally arrived through the door the other day!