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Unrequited Poetry

Poetry isn’t just about love, it’s like being in love.

Not just poetry, but plays and stories too. All at one time or another must suffer the pain of rejection.

Do we deserve it for our promiscuity? Our way of putting pain behind us, time after time, poem after poem, as we plead for acceptance by another, no matter who? How else can we live with rejection after rejection, how else can we keep hope alive, if not by hoping against hope that one day, one night, the publisher of our dreams will hear us singing in the street outside their bedroom and open their window to us?

And then, knowing that our case is hopeless, that we will never be heard, to suffer the ignominy of having to ask someone else to plead on our behalf. The object of our love, the unattainable publisher, refusing to hear us, obliges us to gain an introduction by employing another to speak for us.

In other words, we must use the services of a Literary Agent.

Or pimp.

As the years go by, one gets used to it. Poets, playwrights, novelists, all of which I have been, learn the hard way, as lovers do, by experience. Learn, for example, that to be accepted once does not mean that one will be accepted twice. The best we can hope for is a one-night stand. The rest is humiliation.

So we must accept rejection. Get used to it, as they say, because when acceptance comes it is never as sweet as we thought it would be and before long we are back where we started, with another poem, another play, another novel and, as sure as death follows life, another rejection.

At least we can say of our literary rejects, as Gloucester said of his bastard son, there was good sport at their making.



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