Hot take: Submit the Poem You Think They'll Reject

Submitting is weird. It’s weird because you throw your work out there, and a bunch of editors who haven’t eaten lunch yet are reading your work thinking, “Ugh. She wrote the word lasagna. I’m so hungry. I hate this.” Other days, you submit, and the editor has eaten lunch, so they think, “These poems aren’t about food. I hate them.” You can’t win. So why try? It sounds counterintuitive, but I think you should always include one poem in a packet that you think the editors will hate. Why?

Because time and again, I’ve discovered that the single poem I thought they’d never ever publish, the poem I added in on a whim, or the random poem I was almost convinced no one would love is the poem that they accept. And that poem I was overly confident about? It took 8 years to find a home. So go on, throw caution to the wind. Be fierce. Be unafraid. Be contrarian. Life’s too short not to take risks, and the submission game is too much of a crapshoot not to play around.