The Life and Death of A Literary Legend
I enjoyed my work as editor. I spent hours with manuscripts, not because I took time with any of them but because there were so many. I sent each back with one of three rejection slips:
1. Thank you for submitting your work to New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria), but it does not meet our needs at this time.
2. Thank you for submitting your work to New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria). Although it does not meet our needs at this time, please let us see more in the future.
Or a third, which I consider a masterpiece of the genre:
3. Your work is compelling, and we enjoyed it immensely. You have a wonderful grasp of the essentials of writing and a quirky, original style that sets you apart. It is rare that a work makes such a lasting impression on us, and we were all profoundly moved. However, though your submission was a gift we will cherish forever, it does not meet our needs at this time.
Good luck in placing it elsewhere.
I sent them out based solely on whim, which, from the vantage point of every unpublished writer, is how every magazine makes that decision.
In own my writing life, I added to my query letter that I was editor of New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria) and had a poem accepted by a magazine that had rejected it twice before. I was invited to literary events: a seminar at Columbia on the state of literature today, a colloquium sponsored by The New York Times on the political responsibilities of magazine editors. As judge for a famous national poetry contest, I saw another endless stream of submissions.
The most interesting event was at the 92nd Street Y, where I gave a well-attended talk on whether there was a "Literary Magazine School of Poetry" today.