July 14, 2011

Your Poem Was Off-Topic But

Poets Online has been posting prompts since 1999. No matter what the prompt says, there are always at least as many submissions that have nothing to do with prompt as there are poems that address the prompt.

Many of the poems are off-topic are ones we would consider for publication if they addressed the current prompt. It is easy to set aside the cliched love poems, religious and political prompts and sets of a dozen poems sent in by one person.

But, at times, there will be a poem that we like that has nothing to do with the prompt. I will ask the other readers to consider again - "Does it address the prompt? Am I'm missing something?" Usually the answer is No.

But we save all the submissions in mail folders "Used" and "Rejected" and a few in that latter folder get a mail flag on them as being a poet that we may want to keep an eye out for next time.

Occasionally, I will email those poets with some encouraging rejection note. (Yes, there is a such a thing. I have received them.) Sometimes we suspect that the poet is a young poet in age or experience. Rejection is tough.

When we fell behind in our reading and updating recently (end of the semester, exams, unpoetic papers to grade and that distracting thing we call Life), we went back the rejected folder and looked for some poems that were off topic, but we liked. 

In case you missed them, here's a link to where they are posted on the site in our archive.

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