National Writing Project

Rejection Letter

By: Bill Connolly
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 8, No. 4
Date: Fall 2003

Summary: A poem from Bill Connolly of the National Writing Project at Rowan University.


I'd been expecting you
that smug yet conciliatory tone
filtered through the impartiality of Times New Roman.

There's no mistaking your sneering truthfulness.
How you look down the length of the paper
at my insufficiency
hinting at how my similes hang limp
like a wet string in October drizzle.

The months I've waited for and
anticipated your sting
make me wish for a more expedient way—
perhaps a touchtone system
where I could enter my PIN
and choose to Press 1 to be let down easy
Press 2 for constructive criticism
Or 3 for the cold, hard truth.

And yet now I think I favor the idea
of my poor, inadequate poem
wandering out there in the postal system
for months,
spreading its shrouded message of possibility
among phone bills, junk mail, and calls to jury duty.

I will continue to accept and expect your arrival
until someone says "yes"
and allows this to be my first time
to drop the envelope
and cover my mouth with my hand.

About the Author Bill Connolly is a co-director with the National Writing Project at Rowan University. He teaches English at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

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