As I continue to read through the submissions for this go-round, I am continually disappointed that I have to turn down so many poets. I try and always remember what it feels like to receive a rejection, and even if I cannot always make my replies personal, at least I can try and be kind.
A few days ago, after I'd finished reading for the day, I went to my rejections folder and counted up all the ones I'd received since 2000. The total was 89. I didn't count my acceptances because for me, on that day, I wanted to remember what it feels like to have someone say "no" to you, to your poem, to your work that you spent hours and hours working over. It's not an easy feeling to live with, but I have discovered that those early submission rejections don't hurt as much because my poetry has changed and matured over the past several years. Many of those old poems of mine I would reject for Autumn Sky Poetry if I was reading them, so in some small way, I can understand how difficult and tedious it must have been for those editors to read through and then send back my poems.
At any rate, I never forget the feeling. And really, I'm still getting rejections too. That doesn't ever really stop. And I've finally decided and more importantly, convinced myself, that the creation of the poem is more important than the publishing of it. It took me a few years to get there, but after reminding myself of that philosophy over and over it seems to have finally stuck. It occurred to me that I could probably live and be happy without getting published, but that I would be miserable if I couldn't continue writing and exploring this wonderful language.