Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rate the Rejection - FIELD

Here's a stumper: How to rate a rejection letter that doesn't exist? It seems like a task for one of Samuel Beckett's characters. Yet that's exactly the task I'm faced with, as FIELD, apparently having nothing nice to say, says nothing at all. What that means for me is my SASE returned, with my poems, and no explanation. It's baffling. Here's what I've got to show you:

That's right, just the empty envelope -- that's all I've got. Nevertheless, I persist.

Rating Summary: It could be ingenious: just skip the rejection letter altogether. You save some money and time and skip over all the difficult sentiment. Alternately, it could be accidental: one of the interns forgot to include the standard rejection note. Whoopsy daisies. A third possiblity: laziness and inertia. Whatever the case, the lack of any letter at all, the mute returning of poems unmarked in any way, suggests an appalling lack of respect and consideration. It's a cop-out, a mistake, or a sign the editors just couldn't be bothered. It may have enabled a faster turnaround time (six weeks, give or take), but the means to that end are brutish.

The Grade: 0. As far as I'm concerned, the folks at FIELD didn't turn in their assignment.

Click here for more about the Rate the Rejection series and links to other rejections I've rated.


sturdygirl said...

the empty envelope is a stumper. what were they thinking, or not thinking?

anyway, i wanted to tell you that today's Christian Science Monitor books section has a bunch of articles about poetry and poets. thought you might be interested. hope all is well!


Jefferson said...

i have an idea for Field's lack of response: send the poems back to them, saying that you neglected to inform me about the status of my submission. i think you should also say that, since there was no note, that you assume the best and that the poems got into the magazine.

whatever the reason for the oversight, it doesn't look very good. you put alot of time and effort into a submission, and not only do they take a very long time to get back to you, they don't even stick in a generic slip of tissue paper.

my dad, the dyed-in-the-wool business man, would say that they have a responsibility to you as a 'customer' and since they didn't come through with their responsibility, they have to make it up to you. free subscription, personal note, etc. my dad would probably send them a little note with a few well placed threats and embarrasing exposes, and maybe even a little 'don't fuck with me' vibe for good measure.

David said...

Thanks Dana. CSM does have some nice poetry-focused articles online at the moment, including one on Donald Hall and another on Kevin Young, two favorites of mine. For others who are interested, you can check them out here:

Jeff, I will be in touch with your dad shortly for help crafting my letter back to FIELD...

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