Saturday Rumpus Found Poetry: Rejection Letter Edition


A talented and hilarious friend of mine, Katie Coyle, is now about two months post-partum on her MFA. It has freed up her time for submitting stories to various places. (You can read one of hers, “The Difference Between My Girlfriend and a Sea Captain,” here.) This means she’s been getting a lot of lovely rejection notes from people who have surely read her work attentively and just mean it when they say: “Hey, this is great, just not for us.” She noted a certain assonance to these letters, a musicality you might say, and so decided to commemorate them in verse.

To wit:

My Rejections: A Found Poem

by Katie Coyle

First of all, let me apologize
for the absurd response time. We want you to know
how honored we are. Thanks for sending, thank you for
giving us the chance to consider, thanks for the opportunity,
thanks for your patience, thank you for your interest—we appreciate
your commitment to quality literature. I really enjoyed the nipple part.
Humorous. Imaginative. Well-written. Not what we’re looking for.
It’s not that this is “bad.” Some of our readers got sidetracked by
the boyfriend’s name; you might consider changing it to something less obtrusive
than Elvis. Of, perhaps, more concern for me: we know very little about him except
he’s pretentious and insufferable. The narrator
is a one-emotion observer. I hope this feedback is helpful!
We liked the sentences, no hard feelings.
It does not suit our present needs, I’m sorry to say. Good luck
with this one, good luck with it elsewhere,
we hope you will feel encouraged, we wish you luck,
we encourage you to keep writing, we do wish you
the best of luck, best, sincerely, best, best wishes,
best of everything, keep working at it. Thanks much.
The ending seemed a bit too much like
adolescent fantasy.
We’ve decided to pass.

If any of you have found poetry from your own rejections, please feel free to post it in the comments.

Michelle Dean has written for a variety of places, including The Awl, ELLE and Bitch. More from this author →