The Unpredictable Guest

I’m very happy to say that, today, I have new work in the Winter edition of Contrary Magazine. Not only have I long admired the poems printed in Contrary (and only recently got up the gumption to send work), but the poem of mine that the editors chose is a particular favorite of mine. I’ve been trying to find a magazine home for the poem for over a year, and have received quite a number of “close-but-no-cookie” rejections on it. So it was a true pleasure not only to place this poem, but also to have it accepted by the fine folks at Contrary with such enthusiasm and warmth.

Having this poem hit the page is a nice note on which to end my somewhat quiet literary year. While 2009 was a blockbuster year by my personal standards (finishing my MFA and having my first book accepted for publication), 2010’s been decidedly less full of fanfare. Yes, Jacob Wrestling is out with my superb agent, but there’s quite a bit of waiting, wondering, and hand-wringing (not to mention working!) that goes on as he does the hard labor of finding the right home for the novel.

Waiting isn’t much more fun than rejection, but I’ve found this year to be a good reminder that patience and persistence are important parts of literary living. There will be dry spells, there will be poems sent to 30 or more journals before publication, and there may be many more months or even years of book pitching than one would like. But I’m learning to believe that good news isn’t a fluke in the midst of rejection or waiting. Good news is always coming, even if it’s an unpredictable guest. But as I work, I’ll be waiting, door wide open.

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