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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

William Stafford on Rejections ...

"Well, most of the poems I write I don’t send out at all. And of those I send out, maybe a tenth of them finally get published. So that means an awful lot of them get rejected, even ones I think are all right. I look at it this way: you can run across a log pond—you know, where they’re floating the logs at a sawmill—by stepping on one log at a time. And if you don’t stay on a given log very long, you can go hopping clear across the pond on these logs. But if you stop in one, it’ll sink. Sometimes I feel a writer should be like this—that you need your bad poems. You shouldn’t inhibit yourself. You need to have your dreams, you need to have your poems. If you begin to keep from dreaming or from trying to write your poems, you could be in trouble. You have to learn how to say “Welcome . . . welcome.” Welcome, dreams. Welcome Poems. And then if somebody says “I don’t like that dream,” you can say “Well, it’s my life. I had to dream it.” And if somebody else says “I don’t like that poem,” you can say, “Well, it’s my life. That poem was in the way, so I wrote it.”

From William Stafford’s Writing the Australian Crawl (Univ Mich, 1979):

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