Thursday, September 23, 2010

Me and Alice Quinn

In the early 1990s, I submitted many poems for consideration to THE NEW YORKER magazine. They were all rejected. This was a form rejection from Alice Quinn, who until 2007 was the poetry editor of THE NEW YORKER.

I was persistent, and the rejections began to have a personal touch. This was a rejection that was different from the generic form rejection. It was in 1991, and was for my poem, "April's Dance." I wanted to believe that the poem reached the next level and "the decision" then involved several opinions. It filled me with hope because I thought it indicated a few editors wanted to accept and publish my poem.

My notes indicate this rejection was for "Sweating Madness," which originally had the title "Shvitzin' Meshugas." The original poem had a joke about fallopian tubes, but after subsequent changes to that poem the reference was removed. Alice Quinn called my poem, "charming!" Then she added, "Always feel free to try us with your work." This rejection actually said my poem had "evident merit." I was deliriously happy and excited.

This rejection came in 1994 and was for the poem, "Nap Time." Alice Quinn said, "I appreciate seeing your work."

It did not matter that my poems were not accepted. Ms. Quinn validated the merit of my work. And for her grace and kindness, I will always be thankful. Many of the poems that were submitted to THE NEW YORKER appear in the memoir, "marjorie-pentimenti."


Rayvenne Black said...

It's nice that she did leave personal comments. With the amount of stuff they receive, that shows she must have been pretty dedicated to her job and to writers...unlike other people we have seen on the blogosphere (SPH ehem?) :)

Marjorie said...

I have such strong opinions about what now goes on. It is so unprofessional. The characters who participate in all that ridicule never would have lasted in jobs years ago where there was a standard of excellence in place.

Julie Geistfeld said...

Thanks Marjorie for this post! Great to see!