On rejection…

We are two weeks into 2022, and I have already received two rejections for work that I submitted last year.

As I prepared submissions to be sent to our contest judges, I held both of those rejections close to my heart. I know that every poem that will be read over the next few weeks was entered with care and hope. And though they each tell stories worthy of being heard, less than ten percent will be recognized by our judges. My heart already breaks for the people who will begin their year with rejection.

One of my favorite poets once shared with me that during one of his most successful years, his work was accepted into 24 of the journals/competitions to which he’d submitted. During the submission period that marked those 24 wins, he submitted to 300 places. I remind myself of that statistic whenever my work doesn’t find a home. I also remind myself that the same year he was shortlisted for a national book award – that rejections don’t always speak to the caliber of the poem, and they never speak to the value of the poet.

Thank you so much for sharing your work with us; I do not take it for granted.

As always, I invite you to spend some time with the 2021 Pinesong, and I’d like to share a piece of my own from the inaugural issue of Our Rhythm | Our Blues. Though the submission period has ended, I will be posting here throughout the year. I hope to see you at our meeting next Saturday!

Lumpkin Out. 

Ashley Lumpkin is a Georgia-raised, Carolina-based writer, editor, actor, and educator. She is the author of five poetry collections: {} At First Sight, Second Glance, Terrorism and Other Topics for Tea, #AshleyLumpkin, and Genesis. Her book “I Hate You All Equally.”, is a collection of conversations from her years as a classroom teacher. A lover of performance as well as the written word, she has been a competing member of the Bull City Slam Team since 2015 and currently serves as its assistant coach. She is one-fifth (and only Slytherin member) of the Big Dreams Collective and currently serves as the adult contest director of the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Above all else, Ashley considers herself a teacher, poet, and fryer of food. She is a lover of mathematics and language. She loves you too. 

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