Nobody likes rejection. Whether it’s an explicit one (“No, I don’t want to go out with you, and I don’t know why you’ve asked me while wearing your PE kit”) or a more subtle one, like that amazing Twitter joke you worked really hard on that got no replies, retweets or likes and made you go back and double-check it had actually posted, it’s horrible.
And what could be more upsetting to have rejected than a poetry collection you poured your heart and soul into? Every word, every syllable, every letter, mined from your very essence. Your true self, bled out upon a page, bound and faithfully submitted to a publisher.
Poet F.C. Meyer did that; distilled his thoughts and feelings into ink on paper and sent it into Australian publisher Angus & Robertson.
And they were NOT impressed.
As shared by awesome Twitter account @LettersOfNote, it reads:
No, you may not send us your verses, and we will not give you the name of another publisher. We hate no rival publisher sufficiently to ask you to inflict them on him. The specimen poem is simply awful. In fact, we have never seen worse.
Angus & Robertson”
Fucking HELL. You’d just never write again if you got that, would you? You’d burn all the paper in your house and fling your typewriter down a well. You’d hack off the ends of your fingers so your body was incapable of clutching a pen. You’d attempt to drink so much booze that you became permanently illiterate, just so you could never inflict such apparent hideousness on the world again.
But you know what? F.C. Meyer of Wells Street, Katoomba, was made of sterner stuff than most. He shrugged off this “JESUS CHRIST, F.C. MEYER, YOU’RE SHIT, YOU’RE SO FUCKING SHIT” rejection as a mere frippery and persevered with his poetry, later self-publishing a collection:
Good on you, F.C. Meyer. Good on you and your almost certainly unreadable poetry. And it really feels like the word ‘Jewels’ should be in a larger font on that cover. But still, you go, F.C. Meyer.
After all, if a poet can’t have faith in his own complete garbage, who can?
After another truly excellent rejection letter? It’s hard to beat this one from Princeton University:
“Princeton University has no Law School.”