Competition 10 Results

Competition 10 - The Editor Regrets...

You were asked to write a rejection note to a well-known poet.

Since we have all suffered the monstrous unfairness of rejection this Editor’s first inclination was to publish every entry. But his John Bull Printing Set did not contain enough little rubber e’s. So a degree of pain is unavoidable and some have ended on the cutting room floor, though not without a mention for Lynn Roberts whose Editor found Milton’s epic work made an ideal coffee table, and for Susan Jarvis who begged Kipling (“Can I call you Rudge?” ) to “… take your quill and go and fill the unforgiving minute / with a sonnet’s worth of finest verse without the word “If” in it.”

My compliments to all whose entries appear below: while to those who have missed out goes the well-meant but saccharine-sickly Editorial patronisation expressed in the last two lines from Byron’s nemesis, D A Prince.


Dear Mr Larkin …

I cannot print “f***” in our Church Magazine;
though I thank you, my friend, for submitting
your poem. But, for our new Family Page
it is rather too rude and hard-hitting.

I am sorry your Mother and Dad messed you up,
though I’m sure it was most well-intentioned.
But your bitterness does seem a bit overdone,
even given the reasons you mentioned.

You may think that your grievance cries out to be heard,
making public your family disgrace;
but do you think “f***” is the right choice of word
and our Family Page the right place?

Your poem’s a dud. It will never catch on.
But if it is fame that you seek
you might have more luck if you cut out the “f***”
and send me a re-write next week.

Leo Vincent


Jno. Milton, Esq.: - Sir,

I profess that I am honoured by the Advent of your Opus
(dramatically titled, and most promising in Topos);
the Porters who delivered it were virile, strong and able;
they have left it where it makes a most delightful Coffee Table.
I have cast an Eye upon it and have formed a firm Opinion
which I wish to give in Person (not to leave it to some Minion).
The Op’ning’s very rousing, but it drops off when in Eden,
since nothing ever happens – neither Violence nor Breedin’.
Your Subject’s irreproachable in Language, Source and Theme, and
I might be, Sir, more Sanguine if your Hero weren’t a Demon.
You have given him the Action and the most poetic Verse
(see ‘the Leaves in Vallombrosa’, and much more I could rehearse).
If you make the Good so boring and the Wicked so alluring
your Work will not be published, let alone be prov’d enduring,
and your Ears will fast be forfeit to the Anger of the Church;
forgive yr Humble Servant – I must leave you in the Lurch.

Lynn Roberts


Dear Mr. Poe: I want you to know
That I'd publish your work in a minute,
But the delicate set reads my monthly gazette
And my ladies would blanch at what's in it.

Your characters’ capers would give them the vapors
And cause them to swoon dead away;
While I, as a man and a diligent fan
Am confined to the tea and soiree.

The sound of your name brings such fervent acclaim
That I fear my decision is foolish,
But my readers would rise after dropping like flies
And declare that you're simply too ghoulish.

So, on mindful reflection, this is a rejection.
I've read till the daylight is spare.
Any noise and I glance off, cause you scare my pants off --
Good luck with its placement elsewhere.

Pat D'Amico

Shall I compare these to a heap of turds?
They're just as fitted to the public taste.
Shakespeare, you may be fond of fancy words,
But talent isn't something you should waste.
Mate, when I asked you for a manuscript,
I thought of hunchback Richard, Kate the Shrew,
And all those histories where red blood dripped -
I didn't mean this kind of how-d'you-do.

Is there a story? It would seem you love
Some bloke, and also shag some dusky bird.
An O. K. premise, but great heavens above,
The way that you develop it's absurd!
All puns and quibbling - some call it wit
But I'm not laughing. Like I said – it's shit.

George Simmers


"Mr. Carroll, I confess,
Although I'm known for my largesse,
Your manuscript produced a shock
(The one that deals with Jabberwock).

Your nonsense words proliferate,
And function to infuriate.
Your slithy toves, if truth be told,
Are suited for my two-year-old.

My mind is open, but good lord,
It closes down with "vorpal sword".
And "frabjous day" -- come on, be serious --
When you wrote, were you delirious?

All this bunkum I reject;
I publish writers I respect.
Your plot's a joke, your structure's flimsy;
All in all, it's far too mimsy."

Mae Scanlan


“In Flanders’ Fields,” this poem you sent,
Has caused quite a predicament
For this most law-abiding ed.
Oh, how am I supposed to tread
In light of this depraved event?

This Flanders, whom you document –
He is a squire or country gent
Whose tenants line the watershed
In Flanders’ fields?

Should I report this malcontent
Who manages to circumvent
The laws on burying the dead?
Moreover, ‘neath his flowerbed
How many lie, without consent,
In Flanders’ fields?

Peter Goulding


Dear Lord Byron,
You crave acceptance: it's a common want
'mong poets more than most (although a true one
is never welcome: poets tend to shunt
the critic to one side, and hope a new one
will praise their genius, and be far less blunt).
Alas, I have to send you back Don Juan.
Some parts worked well, and I quite liked the rhyme.
Do send us more, though, when you have the time.

D A Prince