Template for a cover letter [case in point]

What follows is a near-verbatim text sent along with some poems I submitted. (I have scrubbed the text to protect the identity of the journal, the save the editors/readers embarrassment should they eventually reject my truly important – vital, yes – work.) I’ve been in high-gear in terms of the submission process, and now and again face the obligation to “include a cover letter and/or bio with the poems.” I don’t believe further comment necessary, except to state, explicitly, that I am in no way aligning myself with a kind of poem-reading such as New Criticism requires, violently removed as it is from the contextual facts of an author’s life or obsessions or nexus of social-political-historical existence. Ahem:

To the Editors/Readers of ACME Journal/Review for Talented Poem-Writers:

“Cover letter” has a way of translating, in the minds of some hopeful poet-submitters, into “bullet-pointed boast”: of publications published; of awards awarded; of plaudits and laurels, applauded and applied. But I prefer to treat the genre as “a reflection of character in the form of a string of words.” I like to think the “letters” I append to my submissions reflect the person I am when I write them (the “letters”), and not the person I was when Such-and-Such other journal took my poems, or Such-and-Such college hired me to teach. I also like to think the poems are more important than anything else I might say here. So, please enjoy the poems I have attached. I hope they achieve the standard of your selection process (just because the author did not compose with ACME‘s terminology in mind, does not mean the result will not retro-fit the idea, eh?). Several of the poems in the attached document are part of an ongoing series of “postcard poems,” addressed but undeliverable. The last poem is not erotica, despite mention of “cock” (twice), “pornography,” “kinks,” and – perhaps most damning – “HBO Family.”

Thank you for your time and discernment,

Jacob A. Bennett, person


2 thoughts on “Template for a cover letter [case in point]

    • Thanks mmmmmbuddy. The journal in question was not nearly as endeared, as evidenced by the near-immediate rejection of the poems I sent. Worth it!

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