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Saturday, 8 September 2007

Don't Stand So Close To Me

The New York Times has a good article about geniuses being rejected by Knopf. The initial reaction for any struggling or younger (or expatriated or exiled) writer and poet, on hearing the news that Lolita, On The Road, and works by Sartre, Richler and Plath, were all thrown away by apparently undiscriminating dolts, is that, hey!, I am like them. This moment of inverse glory, basking in a great writer's failures, soon vanishes, however, as one recalls the grosser inequity - they did go on to be published...

I am rejected all the time, often by leading presses and poetry journals. Hurts like hell, but one has to keep going. Fact is, my heart's half-broken by the doors that keep slamming shut over here. It's an odd feeling, because I know I have done so much to promote poetry, it feels like misplaced Karma, having all this indifference visited upon my work.

I confess to sometimes thinking of throwing in the towel. Just quit writing. You know, if I wasn't a poet trying to make headway in the current cold currents of British publishing, I'd be a genuinely happy person. Problem is, I love poetry, and the writing of it. It's the getting it out into the world that's so painful.
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