The last three groups of poems I have sent out to journals have come back with the "This is not our standard rejection slip" rejection slip. I guess I should take this as a compliment, especially since I've gone quite a while without trying to publish poems, but it feels vaguely patronizing. (That's not exactly the right word but I can't think of another one.) If I were 26 I'd be delighted; at 56, not so much.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

1 thought on “Encouragement”


    Half of life
    ends up on the floor
    the other half
    isn’t that eager

    who doesn’t want
    to be healthy
    where is almost
    no healthiness

    if you think even a little back
    or forth you come to the lie
    the part that refuses to continue

    so let me just start you off
    this morning with this text
    on how much I owe you all.

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