I also considered "You Almost Sunk My Battleship." Anyway, here's a list of (non) writing related news over the last few months:
--Finalist, Spring Garden Press Robert Watson Poetry Chapbook Award.
--Runner Up (1 of 3), The Journal Flash Prose Writing Contest (creative nonfiction).
--Semi finalist, Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award
--Top 50 / 1,000 for Tupelo Press summer open reading period for poetry manuscripts.
--Note from Ronald Wallace at the University of Wisconsin Press with their fine poety book prize series: "Sorry--it's a very strong manuscript."
--Orion seems to like my nonfiction, at least enough to produce a hand-scribbled note.
--Ditto for Missouri Review on the nonfiction.
--America Magazine thinks I'm competent, but my poetry might be too prosey (I should maybe stop working in two genres at once)
--The Chattahoochee Review, Hudson Review, and Mid American Review all seem to like my prose, given their hand written notes of a few lines, but I didn't win anyone over.
There are several levels to rejection, as writers know, but if you don't and care to know:
Level 1: Your work didn't click with whoever happened to be reading this today / by golly you are just awful. Typed form rejection slip on small paper.
Level 2: We respect your work / you have some talent so keep working at it. Typed form rejection slip on small paper with someone's initials or the words "Thanks" or "Best."
Level 3: You're fairly skilled at this, but.... Rejection slip on small sheet or letterhead, with a few words typed or written "Thanks, please try us again" or "We liked x or x."
Level 4: We just don't have enough room and you didn't knock our socks off, but you've got skills. Hand-written notes on personal stationary, specific sentence or two on what worked or didn't in a poem or piece of prose, suggestions for further reading on topics similar to your own submission's.
Level 5: The clouds part and a ray of sunlight shines forth upon you as the sound of trumpets and chariots echo across the prairie, and I say unto you ye shall enter the promised land after 7 years of tribulation, milk and honey shall flow from the bosom of the earth, for we have accepted your writing and the multitudes cry out in ecstatic song, go forth and multiply, this is good, so it is written, so it shall be paid in a contributor's copy perhaps with your name listed on the back cover.
Then the next day you get a level 1 rejection note from some other place and the cycle begins anew.
I'm twistedly happy (I guess) that I've been floundering around in level 4 a lot the last year or two, but it's still simply a case of close, but no cigar. Will it always be like this? Is it just part of the infinite dance?