Yes, it's time for another Rate the Rejection! This time, The Kenyon Review is in the hot seat, having declined a batch of four poems I submitted in mid-January. As you'll recall, the journal has moved to an online-only submissions system, so the note came via email. But let's get right down to business. Here's the message:
(By way of explanation, KR requires that multiple poems be submitted in one document -- hence the weird "4 poems -- see file" title.)
Rating Summary: Well, it's an email message. As I mentioned in my post on submitting to The Kenyon Review, the efficiency of their online-only system deserves praise but is also inescapably cold and transactional. The rejection note looks a lot like the receipts you get from Amazon.com. On the other hand, KR does get points for their fast turnaround time -- well under six weeks. The note contains the usual expressions of regret and subtly emphasizes the journal's selectivity. If that were all, I'd find the note as discouraging as any, especially in its automated quality.
HOWEVER, as you can see at the bottom of the message, poetry editor David Baker was kind enough (and I mean that) to include a short note praising the poems and asking for more in the fall. As anyone who's regularly submitted material to literary journals knows, that's a rare occurence. It's enough to lift the spirits of even this jaded submitter, and I'll certainly be taking him up on his invitation.
The Grade: A-. Thank you, David Baker. Your encouragement restored my faith in editors and pulled this one out of D territory.
Click here for more about the Rate the Rejection series and links to other rejections I've rated.