Saturday, September 6, 2008

Interesting Note from Jason Bredle

If you're an editor of a publication and you're considering soliciting me for work, thank you. I love that you're taking the time to do this. My only request is that you familiarize yourself with my work before writing me. There are a lot of things you can check out on the work page of this site. For a good idea of the type of submission you'll receive, I'd suggest reading the poems at Octopus and the poem Twilight Box at Verse Daily. I completely understand if those types of poems are not for you. People have different ideas of what poetry is and what poetry can and should be. I'm just trying to save us all some time and hurt feelings. I've gone through many years of blindly submitting to and being rejected by hundreds upon hundreds of publications. A lot of people experience this, I know I'm not unique, but I'm sensitive and I've learned through experience that rejection upon rejection creates a negativity in my life that I don't want. It affects both my writing and my relationships with people close to me. My solution was to eliminate this negativity by reducing the number of blind submissions I make. What I didn't expect was the fairly significant amount of solicitations and subsequent rejections I'd receive. As an editor, you want people considering your publication to familiarize themselves with the types of poems you publish before submitting. As a writer, I want the same - for you to familiarize yourself with my work before soliciting me. Thank you!

If you're anyone else and you're considering writing me, you can pretend you didn't read the previous paragraph. I'm really a pretty normal person and I like hearing from people.


That note is on the contact part of Jason's website, and it was really interested to read for many reasons. I don't have a book out. Jason, after winning DIAGRAM's chapbook contest, within a few years now has two full length collections. That said, as interested parties will see when they read his first book interview I conducted with him recently, he had worked on both books for a very very long time, and had been sending them out for a while too.

But in that seemingly quick amount of time, I wonder how much he has been solicited, and the whole idea with solicitation should be, ideally, that the editor is a fan of that writer's work. Right? Again, ideally.

But Jason's comments are honest and seem ballsy and warranted, if in fact he's been solicited and rejected to the point where it's been frustrating, which seemingly, it has. I understand that when you solicit, you may get different poems than you expect from that particular writer. I would think, however, you would be sure to take a poem when you solicit as an editor -- doesn't that in fact give the writer a false sense of hope, when they could've just gotten a blind-submission rejection and been fine with that? And wouldn't you hopefully know what kind of work you're going to get? Or do editors really solicit just because of a name, not knowing the writer's work? If so, that's really unprofessional and asshole-ish to do in the first place.

I've been solicited once, and that journal took a poem. I was honored and flattered. I of course have not been solicited since and never expected to be solicited in the first place.

But if I got solicited and rejected, I'd feel the same way.

Has this happened to anyone else? Folks with books out or those without books?

Like I said, I haven't had much experience with it, but it brings up an interested conversation, especially for folks like myself who have never been editors...