One difficulty in getting a poetry manuscript together is the need to assess my own work, to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. One thing that makes me wonder about myself is the way I am consistently rejecting poems that I have previously published in magazines – not everything, but a fair number.
Often the poems I’ve written that I like best are those which magazine editors have rejected, often several times. In some cases, this could be because I have missed something, or because my sense of what makes a good poem is all wrong. Sometimes I read weak poems in magazines and wonder what possessed an editor to think they were any good. Then I wonder if there’s something lacking in me, if I can’t see quality when it hits me between the eyes.
On the other hand, I also believe that strong poems, rejected by magazines, still find their way into collections and find an appreciative audience in that context. That’s my hope anyway, and I hope am not deluding myself.