Living in the River of Words: Rejection and Acceptance

Recently I was asked to talk about the experience of having one’s work rejected, so I began by listing highlights of such low points in my own writing life.

  • The one from the high school teacher who said I couldn’t have written the poem I turned in so I must have plagiarized it.
  • The one that got blown from the mailbox and frozen in the forsythia bush.
  • The one that said “these poems appear to be held together with snot.” (I checked. They weren’t.)
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George Ella Lyon’s is the current Kentucky Poet Laureate. Her most recent books include Many-Storied House: Poems, Boats Float! and What Forest Knows (picture books), and Voices from the March on Washington, a collection of poetry for young adults co-written with J. Patrick Lewis. A native of Harlan County, Kentucky, she makes her living as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington.

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