My Poems Were Rejected For Being Sentimental by Miriam Sagan

And that surprised me, although I’m always interested in editorial feedback. Obviously a difference of aesthetic between me and this publication for short poems. However, it got me thinking.
I think of sentimentality as superficial positive emotion instead of authentic feeling. The dead person we grieve was a saint. Mothers are perfect. You, my darling, bring to mind only hearts and kisses.
But I’m not against passion, admiration, desire, mad love. In fact, I like those things.

Here is one of the rejected poems:

is no longer a planet
but you’re still
in my bed
no one knows
how to understand

Perhaps it is a bit sentimental? At least, it has sentiment. I’d hope that Pluto and the words gravitational wobble would keep it off a Hallmark card. I also think “in my bed” if not cynical certainly isn’t gushy. So, we have a bit of science, a bit of the mystery of love…yes indeed, I did write this poem. In any case, it’s mine.

10 thoughts on “My Poems Were Rejected For Being Sentimental by Miriam Sagan

  1. That’s a terrific poem. Says a lot about the mystery of long relationships in so few words.

    I have I couple of odd editorial comments to share, when we all finally meet this trip, if ever! Right now we’re completely snowed in in Rio Rancho, here for our granddaughter’s third birthday. We leave NM on the 10th. Maybe a get together later this week or early next?

    Philip Graham Professor Emeritus, Creative Writing Program University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Website: Editor-at-Large, Ninth Letter:


  2. The rejecting editor’s supreme sensitivity to sentiment is why I became very suspicious of “sentimental” as criticism. Still puzzled by how it applies here. The poem is funny and clever.

  3. How hard do editors try at zeroing out their own internal emotional and life experience filters when reading / choosing poetry? Seems like it would be difficult but mandatory.

    I, for one, interpreted it as a commentary on the Neil de Grasse Tyson scandal and shouted to myself “Yeah! Miriam is #TeamPluto! But… (looks around sheepishly)…. that’s probably just me.”

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