Writers love to talk about what a thick skin it takes to do what we do, and how quickly inured to rejection we become. Don’t believe a word of it. Whether it comes in a form letter or personally scribbled note with the encouragement to “send more,” every returned submission has its own particular bite.
Fortunately, there is a counter-balance — the gratification of seeing one’s work in print. And sometimes, an acceptance will come at a particularly important time in a writer’s career. This was the case with me — and, I’ve discovered, with many other poets – as a contributor to Poet Lore. My first acceptance from a national magazine came from its editors when I was still an undergraduate. Until then my work had appeared in high school and college lit mags, and I was proud of those poems and those magazines; but the acceptance from Poet Lore was encouragement of a larger order. When a poem of mine again appeared in its pages just a couple of years ago, I felt as if I was renewing my acquaintance with an old friend.
Tomorrow night, I have the honor of representing Writer’s Center Director Charlie Jensen at the Poet Lore 120th Birthday Party Celebration. The Historical Society of Washington is co-sponsoring a free reading featuring three great Poet Lore contributors, John Balaban, Gary Fincke, and Myra Sklarew. Champagne will flow, birthday cupcakes will be eaten, books will be sold and signed, fun will be had. I hope to see you there.
The Historical Society of Washington is at 801 K St, NW at Mount Vernon Square, DC 20001. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the reading will begin at 7:30, with a champagne reception to follow.