Today, I got not one, but two rejections! I don't mind the rejection so much; however, I'm puzzling over the editor's comments on one.
Usually, I just get the standard, polite, plain-vanilla rejection notice saying that my work is not suitable for their specific publication at this particular moment in the space-time continuum, blah, blah, blah; which suits me just fine because it saves me from knowing their real opinion of my work. (Although it doesn't stop me from imagining them sitting at their desks, snorting derisively at my submission and saying, "Hey, Bryce. Ya gotta read this hackneyed juvenalia! It's hilarious! Har har har!")
So, anyway, this rejection came back saying, and I quote:
"Some interesting work, but overwritten and self-consciously poetic....I applaud the rhyming poem, but the meter is too regular and sing-songy."
I know that editors are madly busy people, and I appreciate this person taking the time to jot a few notes down about why my work was rejected. But...I would prefer helpful notes that I can understand. This is not a helpful note, in that I don't understand it. And here's why: I don't understand the phrase "self-consciously poetic." If any one else does, could you do your best to explain it to me? I admit, I am genuinely dense about these things. In tandem with that, I'd also like to know what "overwritten" means.
I was working under two assumptions: One, that I was writing poems. And two, that I would be using some words to write them with. I didn't see the need to hide the fact that I was writing poems. In fact, I would like people to be able to recognize them as such, upon viewing, reading, or hearing. And I wrote them until they seemed finished, at which point I ceased to write them any longer. So, my confusion lies therein. I was, indeed, consciously attempting to create what would be recognizable as a poem. Trust me, I'm no expert. I don't have any formal education in poetry and I'm almost completely self-taught. But I was under the impression that poems should have something of the poetic about them. And I didn't think I was "overwriting", I just wrote them until I felt like they had more or less done their job.
The other thing, about the meter of one of the poems being too "regular" is also confusing, since I used the meter specifically in order to create, you know, some regularity in the poem. I used it again, and again, and again, and yet again. I will be the first one to say that it's sort of an archaic poem. I personally liked the songy sound of it, but I'm primitive that way.
So if any of you experts, or those simply opinionated about poetry, can help me unravel this mystery, I would much appreciate it! Please explain the meaning of "self-consciously poetic" and "overwritten." Help a fledgling poet out! Thanks.