Poetry Contest Winners!

Thanks to the 100 people who contributed poems in Friday’s contest! They were all very entertaining and it was difficult to narrow it down. First, let’s start with some honorable mentions. In no particular order…

Best Concise Overview of Publishing:

No thank you,
thank you no,
We enjoyed the giggle,
Now off you go.

Best Brief Rejection Letter:
Amber Skye

The plot is pointless.
And the writing is banal.
Wish you success though!

Best Overview of Last Week’s Blog Posts:
Chelsea L

Difficult Conversation Number Five

Your prose shows loads of promise, but it needs an overhaul.
Checking out your website, I suspect the text’s too small.

Your characters impress me, but the structure’s off the mark.
I’m not exactly sold, although I see a teeny spark.

Your writing is exciting, but by “salable,” I meant
You’ll need to redo only the last 85 percent.

Get a better head shot and a hotshot stylist, too.
Your tweets are too offbeat. (This hurts me more than it does you.)

Oh! I know an image pro who’ll coach you on your look.
(Listen, kid; it’s true: a dated ‘do won’t move that book.)

Get more friends on Facebook, make them “like” your page and then
Grow your lowly platform by a factor of, say, ten.

I hate to hurt your feelings, but I need to do so, Chelse.
I tell you, I can sell you if you’ll just be someone else.

Best Response to A Rejection Letter:
Shelley Adina

To an Editor, Upon Rejection of My Novel

O lady, thou’rt a hussy fair and cruel
In thy high tower dispensing smiles and pain
In letter form to literary fools
Like me, who flinch, yet must submit again.
You say my plot turns on coincidence,
My characters lack marketing appeal,
And further, drama loses consequence
When folks are made not fantasy but real.
Reluctantly I to the keyboard go
To cut and slash–revise–eviscerate–
And reconstruct it so the seams won’t show
And none would recognize its former state.
Then, when a rival house says “yes” to me
I’ll send a copy–autographed–to thee.

Best Snapshot of the Writing Life:

The small envelope
Arrives in the daily post
Still not good enough.

Poem that Most Made Me Crave Pie:
Samantha H. Weiner

Dear Samantha, we
regret to inform you that
we cannot use this

at this time because
one of our agents took a
bite out of your work

apparently your
work was about pie making,
and he ate the words

off the page. They were
quite tasty, especially
the As and the Us.

Feel free to send us
more of your work, but please do
not send anything

that can be eaten.
We are sorry. Sincerely,
John M. Publisher.

Best Reminder of Middle School Math:
Tara Tyler

Agent Theorem

The probability
Of selection
By an agent
Is a relatively simple
Derived by the ratio
Of the number
Of queries sent
To the number
Of rejections
Subtracted from
The result of
The process of
As it approaches
The limit of
One yes!

Best Cynical Look at Rejection Letters:
Loree Huebner

Dear Author,
Thank you for your query submission.
We appreciate your ambition.
We’re just not interested in your composition.

Please forgive this impersonal note,
We’re just not interested in what you wrote.
We’re handing you your hat and coat.

This is the one millionth rejection we’ve sent this year.
Go ahead and shed a tear.
Best of luck in your writing career.

Most Truthful in the Fewest Words:

my list is full,
with people more lucky than you

There is one more I really like but it’s so long, I chose not to reprint it here. You’ve got to click here to read the funny poem by Rachel Searles.

And the winner is…

Patrick Neylan!

My ex calls in tears
Her novel has been rejected
Is tempered by schadenfreude
And by the knowledge that my own novel
Unwritten but for broken drafts
Is now more successful than hers
For it has not been rejected

My ex calls in tears
Her novel has been reviewed
Under soothing words I quietly exult
That no one will call my novel
Pretentious, sophomoric or artless
In the Sunday Times
For it has not been reviewed

My ex calls in tears
Her novel is not a bestseller
Amazon rank 36,570
My novel acquires a new character:
The failed and chastened novelist
Who returns to her ex-boyfriend
For he will one day write a bestseller

→ Thanks to everyone who participated! Patrick, email me to choose your prize. Congratulations on all the fun poems!

If you haven’t yet, drop by my Facebook page and click “Like.” www.facebook.com/agent.rachelle

© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Andrew Pelt on March 25, 2012 at 11:26 AM

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  2. Patrick Neylan on July 3, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Er, wow. I wasn’t expecting to win, especially after scrolling through those beautifully concise haikus from Glynis, Amber and Lucy, and Jackie’s succinct savagery. Chelsea’s couplets made me laugh aloud and Samantha’s was hilariously batty. Didn’t think I had a chance after reading those.

    Thanks Rachelle for the enormous pleasure of the contest, and thanks for everyone’s kind words in the comments. I feel proud and humble, if such a thing were possible.

  3. Lucky Press, LLC on May 29, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    >What a wonderful wake-up read this morning. I love Glynis's work and am so happy to see it here. Thank you, Rachelle, for your wonderful blog!

  4. Glynis on May 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    >Rachelle, what a thrilling honour! Thank you so much.

    Nathan, thank you for the mention. How lovely.

    Congratulations to all!

  5. sarahjoyliteraryagent on May 27, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    >These were so, so fun to read! 🙂

  6. catherinemjohnson on May 26, 2011 at 5:10 AM

    >They were really fun to read. Congrats to the winners.

  7. Beth K. Vogt on May 25, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    >I am so impressed with the poetic prowess!
    And extra kudos to Tara Tyler who managed to marry poetry and math–quite an impressive feat!

  8. The Desert Rocks on May 25, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    >It must have been difficult choosing the winners. Congratulations Patrick.

  9. Kelly Combs on May 25, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    >Enjoyed them. Congrats to all!

  10. Lisa Jordan on May 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    >Awesome! I had to look up schadenfreude. Congrats, Patrick.

  11. Amber Skye on May 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    >Congrats to Patrick and all! And pie! I want some.

    Thanks for the honorable mention.

  12. David A. Todd on May 25, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    >Congratulations to all those who received the recognition, especially to Partick.

    Rachelle, thanks for holding the contest. One more reality-check rejection. 🙁

  13. Beth on May 25, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    >Loved them all, but personal favorites were Difficult Conversation Number Five and the one by Rachel Scarles. Awesome work by all, though.

    : )

  14. Africakid on May 25, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    >Dang, saw this too late to enter…
    Great poems, and congrats to the winners!
    Made me laugh.

  15. Heidi J Johns on May 25, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    >So fun to see the different poetry styles and to admire the talent out there! Congrats to Patrick and to the honorable mentions as well!

  16. Tara Tyler on May 25, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    >that was fun!
    congrats to all and thanks for the honorable mention =)

  17. Richard on May 25, 2011 at 7:21 AM

    >some very good writings, i only wish that i could write like that. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

  18. Heather Webb on May 25, 2011 at 7:08 AM

    >Congrats to everyone. What fun it was to read them all!

  19. Wendy Paine Miller on May 25, 2011 at 6:31 AM


    Fun reads.
    ~ Wendy

  20. Sharon A. Lavy on May 25, 2011 at 4:44 AM

    >It was fun to read the poems as they posted.
    Winners consider yourselves toasted.

  21. Sarah on May 25, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    >Congratulations to you all. They were fun.

    Now I want pie too.

  22. Nathan on May 25, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    >Congrats winners! It was fun reading the many and varied selections. Especially loved yours Glynis. Couldn't let it go without mentioning that. Just a delightful little poem.

  23. Rachel Searles on May 25, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    >Haha, I figured the epic length would do me in. I was having a Shel Silverstein moment 🙂 Thanks for the mention, and congrats Patrick!

  24. Leigh D'Ansey on May 25, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    >Congrats to Patrick and everyone and thanks Rachelle. The poetry was lots of fun!

  25. Bryce Daniels on May 24, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    >Congrats to everyone!!!!! It was a blast reading all these poems. Great stuff!

  26. Loree Huebner on May 24, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    >Congrats Patrick, and all the other honorable mentions!!

    Thanks to Rachelle for taking the edge off a difficult week with a fun contest post!

  27. Judy Croome on May 24, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    >Congratulations to all the winners! Some great poetry there!
    Judy, South Africa